Reduce / Reuse / Recycle

May 11, 2007


'Mottainai' Delivery Service Promotes Community Reuse Effort

Keywords: Food NGO / Citizen Reduce / Reuse / Recycle 

The "Mottainai Delivery" program is an initiative in Shimane Prefecture to transport "mottainai" goods (things still useful but discarded) to places where they can be utilized. This initiative has been well-received in the project area since it started in June 2006.

The initiative was a reaction to a problem concerning Natsumikan ("summer mandarin orange"), a type of sour citrus fruit. Ms. Tae Yamane, general manager of a Japanese style inn in Shimane Prefecture, heard that this fruit was being discarded due to a lack of people willing to harvesting it. She discussed how to utilize the fruit with her staff, and tried floating the fruit in a big public bath so bathers could enjoy its fragrance - one Japanese custom is to scent bathwater with floating citrus fruit on the winter solstice.

Ms. Yamane went further, asking around about other local unutilized goods, and gathered information on such goods as tea leaves rejected for commercial use, tatami mats from a Judo wrestling hall, electric kilns, etc. Through e-mail exchanges and word-of-mouth, she looked for people who could put these goods to use, and many were successfully recycled or reused: the tea leaves were recycled into incense, the tatami mats were brought to another Judo hall and the kilns delivered to a career development program for the handicapped.

At present, unutilized goods are collected at 10 sites, and carried to destinations in and out of Shimane once a week. Volunteers offer their vehicles and manpower for transportation, and recipients of the free goods pay fuel costs. Ms. Yamane and her associates are expanding this initiative by developing a business venture using local unutilized or un-harvested vegetables.

Posted: 2007/05/11 12:13:59 PM
Japanese version