Accuracy in Media

For years I have thought that America was overly obsessed with recycling especially when I read stories of how cities and towns had spent millions on recycling centers only to find that they couldn??t pay for them from sales of recycled material. After visiting Japan recently I will be thankful that we recycle to the degree that we do and nothing more.

At the 2005 World Expo in Nagoya Japan recycling is what is expected. Rather than have the standard trash cans, the site has recycling bins. I don??t have a problem with complying in general but it was rather confusing and a bit perplexing to say the least. After lunch with my wife I was going to throw away our trash. She had neatly put the plastic food container with the leftover food and utensils in a plastic bag and tied it up for disposal. Wrong! The attendant at the recycling area unwrapped the bag and then placed the chopsticks in it??s own container, the plastic bag and the food container in plastics and the leftover food in the burnables bin. I was smart enough to figure out the water bottles were to go in the bottles bin. I guess with an estimated 100,000 visitors a day there are a lot of chopsticks being used, so this must be one heavily used container.

Yet I guess that is pretty tame by Japanese standards. Recently in the city of Yokohama residents were given a 27 page instruction manual on recycling that covers 518 items. Yikes! For example lipstick is a burnable unless it is in an empty tube which means it is now a small metal or plastic. Or how about socks? If you have a used pair it qualifies as cloth, but they must match and they can??t be torn or contain holes, otherwise they are burnable. One sock is also burnable. Considering how many socks in my house are missing a match, there will probably be a lot of stinky socks fouling the air as they burn. Then again as inscrutable as the Japanese are they probably don??t lose socks like my family does.

Even my Japanese mother thinks her country has gone overboard.

So for all you conservatives that hate recycling, it could be worse.




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