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 LendAround.com 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.