Thinking outside the box

It's all the buzz at the moment - to be eco-friendly - and that's a good thing. Reducing waste, recycling, re-purposing, that's all great. A friend emailed me today about what she's doing in her family. These dialogs are so important.

We recycle a lot in our town, including almost all plastic which really cuts down our rubbish. A family of four generates a lot of rubbish, especially one with a baby. Our rubbish is collected twice a week and we put out just one of the council approved bags each time (50 litres). The user-pays system (we buy the approved bags) contributes to minimizing the cost incurred by our local government and therefore our taxes. It motivates people to throw out less. When I moved to this city I was impressed by how little rubbish there was on collection day. Nobody gets away with disposing of anything that is not on the collection schedule. Our streets are not littered with old junk that hasn't been picked up by the trash collectors. It's lovely.

There are several online groups in Japan for getting rid of unwanted items. You can read about them here: Tell and Sell Japan. It's a group of websites and mailing lists. I'm one of the moderators :) If you are like me and feel overwhelmed by the amount of stuff you have accumulated then this is the place to go.

Today has been launched - described by the founder as NetFlix meets Facebook. It's in beta testing mode right now and is full but I don't think it will be long before it goes to a fully functional website. I found out about it via my favorite website, Apartment Therapy. LendAround is a new tool that helps you borrow things from your friends - and get them back!

Not exactly related but another thing I have been thinking about is bartering. Does anyone have any experiences with bartering? specifically for services. Like trading gardening for babysitting hours? Write to me if you think this would work within the English speaking community in Japan. Trade sewing tasks for piano lessons. Translating for web development. We all have unique skills to offer.


  1. it's four "R" 's now.




  2. I heard about your new rejection policy Jan. I panicked when I was told since your unsolicited package was on its way!

  3. I like this post Mee a Bee! I wish there was a group in Japan (nudge, wink, wink) that had bartering, or even borrowing....

  4. Thanks! I am thinking about the beg, steal or borrow site, just worried that people will abuse it, not "pay" for the services fairly and then complain to the owner ie ME if their deals go sour. It happens a bit on Tell and Sell.

  5. Ah... that is true, check out the site beg, steal or borrow and see what their disclaimer says, you could use this and have it said "you are no way responsible" etc etc... and by joining the member agrees...

    Tell & Sell is pretty useful, very useful, I sold a lot when we moved, furniture, etc and even bought = )

    Keep me posted if you find something or will start one = )

  6. I used to get my nails done for free for teaching English.

    P.S. House-swop sounds like a good idea.

  7. I have heard of bartering called as time - banking. So you do something for someone for one hour and you get from someone for one hour. You can also save "hours" on your account etc. I guess we should google it and find out how exactly does it work.
    I really like this idea and I hope people would start thinking other ways as "buying".

  8. i was veryvery pleased and surprised to get the scraps. there is some good stuff in there!!

    thanks so much!!!

  9. The founder of, Tim Jackson emailed me yesterday (personally!).

    He's pretty excited about his new website I am sure but he also wanted to say how much he loves Japan having lived here and vacationed here with his family. Isn't that nice?


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