Reduce / Reuse / Recycle

October 7, 2013


Kyushu University Students Promote Cosmetics Recycling

Keywords: NGO / Citizen Reduce / Reuse / Recycle 

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A workshop on recycling unused cosmetics was held in Kitakyushu City, Fukuoka Prefecture, as part of public relations for the Fifth Tokyo International Conference on African Development, which was held in Yokohama City, Kanagawa Prefecture, in June 2013.

The workshop was jointly hosted by the Kyushu International Center of the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) and the Plus Cosme Project, a group of eight graduate students (including one male student) at Kyushu University in Fukuoka. In the workshop, participants made paint from cosmetic products, such as lipstick and eye shadow, that had been brought to collection boxes placed on the university's campus, in major departments, and at regional event sites and other locations, thus calling on the public to help recycle cosmetics that will no longer be used. Each of the sorted colors was dissolved using a solvent for paint. After 10 minutes, the cosmetics-derived pastel-color paints were ready to use. The paints they made dry more quickly than conventional watercolors.

One of the main raw materials for cosmetics is gum arabic, which is imported to Japan from Africa. The representative of the Plus Cosme Project, Mamika Kawahara (second-year masters student in Kansei Science) says of her dream, "Even through daily items like cosmetics, we can learn about how we are connected to the world. Gum arabic comes all the way from Africa and is used to produce cosmetics. The cosmetics are used here in Japan, and we recycle them to make paints. We hope the paints will eventually go back to Africa, where they can be handed over to local children."