waste

Eat all of your rice! Culture connections with Japan’s favorite food

In the past few months the Japanese word mottainai, which conveys a sense of regret over waste, has begun to spread into the Western world, and the concept of mottainai can be seen most clearly in every bowl of rice.

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Swiss hotel fights food wastefulness with photos of starving children

As a child, did your parents ever try to get you to finish everything on your plate by telling you how there are starving children in the world who aren’t lucky enough to have the luxury of a decent meal? As a kid, it probably just seemed like an unfair guilt-trip, but as adults hopefully we have all now realized the truth behind those words and the importance of not being wasteful.

A particular Swiss hotel has taken similar tactics to curb the wastefulness of its guests at the breakfast buffet, after shameful amounts of food have been left partially or wholly uneaten and then thrown away. But the hotel took it a step further by including shocking photos to help drive the message home.

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Almost as soon as the ALS Ice Bucket challenge emerged as a massive, viral trend, the haters began to bemoan the waste of water and public showboating. While it’s easy to understand the position–whose Facebook feed hasn’t been filled with posts of friends taking a nice splash this summer?–one thing you can say for the challenge is that it’s raised quite a bit of money. This has left the conversation open to the counterattack “Nee-ner nee-ner nee-ner!” and the charge, “Why don’t you come up with something better?”

Well, look no further, haters, because this daring group of Chinese financial analysts has you covered…by getting uncovered themselves.

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“Recycling in Japan” or “Reasons to get it right and avoid eternal shame”

Is Japan’s recycling system the most complicated in the world? It sure feels like it sometimes. Household waste must of course be separated into burnable and non-burnable, but after that there’s a dizzying array of recycling categories to break your non-burnables into. Since Japan is a relatively small country without masses of land to use for burying waste, the vast majority of waste used to be incinerated. However, with increasing ecological awareness in the 1990s came new legislation to minimise the amount of waste being burnt, and promote recycling.

Public awareness of the need to recycle is high, but the system can be baffling for new foreign residents. The problem lies not only in the array of recycling categories, but also in the apparent overlap between them: the grey areas. Is an empty pizza box considered recycled paper? Or is it burnable? Paper packages? “Other”? And if a bottle is made of a different type of plastic to the standard PET, is still a “pet bottle”, or is it just “plastic”?

Today we bring you six reasons to learn what goes in what box, and a few hints for getting it right along the way.

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