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Japan in recycle mode to save energy PDF Print E-mail
Monday, 26 May 2008

CNN

Tokyo: While India worries about its' power woes, Japan which is famous for its tall office towers and cutting-edge consumer gadgets consumes only about half the amount of oil as Americans.

The Japanese housewife Nobuko Masuzawa sorts her trash into ten recycling categories.

She avoids using plastic bags and runs her household on electricity generated from her own solar panels.

"We have been recycling for a long time. I never thought it was very special," said Masuzawa.

Masuzawa is typical in Japan, a country where recycling is practically a civic duty and saving energy – a national obsession.

"We are an island and lack a lot of natural resources like oil. We should refrain from living a wasteful lifestyle. We need to recycle," said Parliamentary Secretary, Environment Tomokatsu Kitagawa.

People in some parts of the country separate their trash into as many as 43 categories – from newspapers and magazines to plastic bottles, cans, cosmetics cases, used batteries, milk cartons, Styrofoam trays and clothes.

The Japanese government says the lack of domestic oil has helped motivate businesses here to develop things like hybrid electric cars and solar panels – such as the ones attached to Masuzawa's roof.

Even food has its right place. So what does Masuzawa think of people who don't recycle?

"It's unforgivable. We need to abide by the rules," said Masuzawa.

And in a country which cherishes order and conformity, collective guilt helps feed the recycling craze, too.

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