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TOKYO

Products fair touts new ways to go green

by Tomoko Otake

Staff Writer

A dizzying variety of ideas and solutions for a greener society are to converge this weekend at the Eco-Products 2012 exhibition in Tokyo.

The annual show, now in its 13th year, is arguably the biggest environmental expo in Japan, drawing around 180,000 attendees every year. This year, 750 exhibitors from the public, private and nonprofit sectors will have an estimated 1,750 booths there, displaying everything from energy-saving and less-polluting products to environmental projects being carried out at home and abroad.

The theme of the event this year is “The greener, the smarter,” and organizers say that translates into a range of products and technologies that realize that mix of green and smart living.

While a large part of it is a business-to-business exposition, the organizers have worked hard to reach out to the public and even make it a family-friendly event.

The best way to navigate through this giant maze of booths will be to sign up for a guided tour by experts. They will walk you through the exhibitors, pointing out the newest and most interesting ones. The 90-minute English tours are conducted twice each on Thursday and Friday.

Various peripheral events are also worth checking out. For example, xChange is a free clothes-swapping site where you can give used (but wearable) clothes in exchange for those donated by others. The organizers will also accept donations of used mobile phones, which will go toward funding an environmental group trying to protect gorillas from losing their habitat; old ink cartridges will be recycled by printer manufacturers.

Eco-Products 2012 is being held at Tokyo Big Sight in Koto Ward through Dec. 15 (10 a.m. till 6 p.m. [5 p.m. on the Dec. 15]). Admission is free. For more information, visit www.eco-pro.com/eco2012/english/index.html.