Saturday, April 5, 2014

Wrapping Rant

One would think Japan is an eco-friendly place, judging by all the rules about sorting out plastics, bottles, cans, burnables and cardboard, which takes up most of my time on weeknights. Japan loves packaging: convenience stores use plastic bags for every single purchase, even for one mere rice ball, and department stores are even worse, with about three bags for a small item. I rarely see anyone in Japan putting their groceries in a re-usable bag, it seems like most of the population goes for the plastic. Sweets, crackers and many other food items are ridiculously individually wrapped inside one box, and Japan is probably the only place on earth where you can find individually wrapped bananas, carrots, peppers and onions. Unless you insist on no plastic bag at the register, the clerks will wrap everything up.

While I appreciate attention to detail and pretty packaging, this issue really angers me. Today I bought camembert cheese, which came in a box, and the clerk wrapped that box inside its own little plastic bag (I was too late to notice). I barely shop at department stores anymore for makeup, as it takes SO LONG for them to package a single lipstick or nail polish into several small bags. And don't get me started on feminine hygiene products; the drugstore carefully wraps them in a brown paper bag, THEN in a black opaque plastic bag, constantly reminding us that being a woman is shameful. God forbid how un-ladylike it would be to buy such products.

So yes, Japan, please tone down on the packaging, I'm sure my cheese will be just fine next to the box of crackers for my 5-min walk home.

In other news, today has been gorgeous, I ran 6k early in the morning along Meguro river, it was a true hanami run. I need to do this more often!

8 comments:

Jordan Krogh said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Nat AndMatt said...

Yes, the packaging! I remember describing to a teacher and a class how we don't individually wrap cookies in a pack of cookies back home and they went nuts

エメリ said...

I remember those black bags of shame! I hated them!

I think the packaging tradition turned into a job issue. For instance, what if they would change all packaging and make it into eco-friendly packaging, who would work running after those blue vehicles and pick up garbage every morning?

Vivian said...

Jordan- yes, indeed it makes sense that the waste is quite minimal in Japan compared to other countries, but still even though they recycle so much, the use of plastic bags is unnecessary and they need to get on with the rest of the world…! Love how you pulled out the stat too, mwah!! xx

Vivian said...

Nat & Matt: oh god!!! those kids will have a panic attack if they ever go abroad...

Vivian said...

エメリ: good point!! interesting- that could be related to that aspect of the economy.
also, glad you share my disdain of the "bags of shame"!!! :)

Joe Camembert said...

Right. The Camembert cheese flown in on jumbo jet from France. Way to go helping protect the environment...

Joe Camembert said...

Right. The Camembert cheese flown in on jumbo jet from France. Way to go helping protect the environment...