Japan is renowned for its low crime rates. However, a recent heist at a high-end watch store has shaken the country’s safe reputation.
Why Plastic Bags Are No Longer Free In Japan
It has been just over a month now since plastic bags across Japan have stopped being free. Places that once freely handed out plastic bags with every purchase, no matter how small, such as convenient stores and supermarkets now charge a small fee of 3 to 5 yen per bag. But will reducing the amount of plastic bags and emphasizing the use of eco-friendly bags really make a difference? This is one question that Taiko Sugimura, a former member of the House of Representatives, brought to the Ministry of Environment.
Minister of Environment Shinjiro Koizumi explained the need for a plastic bag charge. According to him, while the plastic bag charge is indeed important, it’s goal is not to reduce the amount of plastic used. Plastic bags only make up about 2 to 3% of all plastic waste in Japan. Minister Koizumi states that the real intention of this new charge is to get people to gain an understanding of the worldwide plastic waste problem. Getting citizens conscious of plastic waste will make them aware of how they handle throwing other plastic away in their day-to-day lives.
He also admits that aiming to cut out plastic completely would be simply impossible due to the many uses that we depend on plastic for. The reality is we are not yet in the age to replace plastic completely.
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