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Let's discuss recycling our food waste

This week’s featured article

CHUNICHI SHIMBUN

A decade-old community effort in Nagoya to recycle food waste from supermarkets and school lunches to make compost for vegetable farming has been awarded the Biodiversity Action Award by the Japan Committee for United Nations Decade on Biodiversity (UNDB).

One morning earlier this month, a special garbage truck arrived at the parking lot of the Kakuozan Frante supermarket in Chikusa Ward. There, scraps of Chinese cabbage, Japanese white radish and other vegetables generated by the presale cutting process were thrown in.

“They are so quick and efficient,” one participant on the waste-recycling tour said.

The tours, held a few times a year, are increasing public support for the initiative.

The waste scraps are then delivered to Bio Plaza Nagoya, a plant in Minato Ward that turns them into compost to help reduce the use of fertilizers and other agricultural chemicals.

Veggies grown by farmers who use the compost are sold at supermarkets including Kakuozan Frante. A local hotel also participates in the recycling project by offering a special dish made with vegetables grown with the compost.

The Okaeri Yasai (Welcome Back Vegetables) recycling project was launched in 2008 based on a proposal by Tomoko Okayama, an associate professor of environmental studies at Taisho University. During a citizens’ conference to commemorate the 10th anniversary of the city’s emergency declaration that it had exhausted its waste collection capabilities, Okayama, who was teaching at Nagoya University at the time, called for measures to visualize waste recycling programs to further reduce the city’s kitchen waste.

Last year, a song was created to promote the project, and this fall — the 10th anniversary of its launch — the Japan Committee for UNDB selected the project as one of the recipients of its Biodiversity Action Award, which highlights community activities linked to the preservation and sustainable use of biodiversity.

The UNDB was adopted in 2010 by the U.N. General Assembly and covers from 2011 to 2020, based on a recommendation made by the Japanese government during the 10th meeting of the Conference of the Parties (COP10) to the Convention on Biological Diversity held in Nagoya the same year.

First published in The Japan Times on Dec. 24.

Warm up

One minute chat about recycling

Game

Collect words related to “food” (e.g: cooking, eat, farm, waste)

New words

1) compost: decayed organic matter used for growing plants, e.g., “We use compost for our garden.”

2) fertilizer: a chemical or natural substance added to soil to increase fertility, e.g., “She uses an organic fertilizer in her garden.”

Guess the headline

Nagoya community effort to recycle food w_ _ _ _ wins U.N.-related a _ _ _ _

Questions

1) What is the project about?

2) When did it start?

3) Where did they receive the award from?

Let’s discuss the article

1) What do you think about this campaign?

2) Do you recycle at home?

Reference

小さな取り組みが多く集まれば大きな影響を与えることがあります。ゴミは日常のものであり、特に食品を扱う場では生ごみは必ずと言っていいほど出るものでしょう。

しかし、それをゴミとしてではなく新しい可能性のあるものとしてリサイクルし利用する取り組みが表彰されました。これまでの着実な活動が評価された形となりますが、その取り組みは私たちにも小さなことからできることがありそうだと伝えているようにも思えます。

いつまでも住みやすい地球を残すために、私たちができることは何でしょうか。朝の会に参加し皆さんで話し合ってみましょう。

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