2014年06月27日

Recycling clothes in Japan (2014's info)

Getting used to the idea of "clothing bins" made it really difficult for me to throw out clothes in Japan as the MOERU GOMI (burnable trash).

If you feel guilty of throwing out clothes like I do, you might want to look at the following options.

Option no.1: Flea Market


You don't necessary have to do this yourself. Most Shotengai (commercial district) hold an annual flea market, so if you are a local resident and know someone working at the Shotengai, you can ask her/him if they sell clothes at the flea market. If (s)he does, you can offer to give clothes for free, and they will happily take it. (It generally costs each stall several hundred to several thousand yen to be part of the flea market, so you shouldn't expect them to give money in return. They may not make any profit from your clothes)


Option no.2: Take it to a clothes shop


H&M gives you a 500 yen discount coupon per bag of clothes (maximum of 2 coupons per day). And the clothes may be sent to developing countries, reused as dusting cloths, recycled into other materials or energy. H&M accepts any brand's clothes, but just clothes (no bags, shoes, accessories).

Department stores like Parco and Marui hold annual fairs to collect used clothes and bags, but they only accept high quality used clothes (no stains, no tears, no strings falling out, etc.).

Btw, Triumph and Wacoal hold recycling events around March-June every year to collect used bras and underwear (only Triumph. Wacoal accepts bras only).


Option no.3: Sell it on Yahoo! Auctions


The most popular auction website in Japan is Yahoo. If you have shoes and clothes that are difficult to find in Japan (for example, shoes with narrow width, large size women's shoes, hat that fits a large head, clothing for large busted people, pants and jackets for tall people), Japanese people who can't buy them in Japan might bid high to get them.

However, you will need to be fluent in Japanese, so this may be a difficult option.


Option no.4: Ask the city/ward office


Recently, the Japanese local government are becoming more aware of environmental issues, and are getting more engaged with local cleaning, recycling, etc. Some cities/wards have clothing bins for charity or recycling, so you should ask if your local office does something.


Option no.5: Ask a Japanese friend


Most Japanese people are not really conscious about charity and recycling, but they usually are very kind inside. If you ask them what they do with clothes, they most likely tell you "I throw them out" but if you ask them if they know anything about recycling clothes, they'd probably look it up and tell you what to do, or may be help you out with the whole process.

Japanese people are not educated to think about the environment, and they are very shy when it comes to self-expression. So you might not get a positive feedback from the start, but if you hold discussions about environmental issues and littering, they might become enthusiastic about it. The more you talk to them, the more they'd become aware of the alternative choices. I think this will gradually lead to changes in attitudes of Japanese companies and government, which in turn will make it easier for us to live our lives, so it's worth trying.
posted by かたはばひろみ at 12:00| Comment(0) | English articles | このブログの読者になる | 更新情報をチェックする
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