Monday, March 23, 2009


Related to my last post, I just read an article in the Japan Times. The article, available at, says that there is a floating dump of plastic debris called the Eastern Garbage Patch in the ocean, just west of California, and this dump is now larger than the area of the United States. Plastic garbage from the coasts of Asia and the United States accumulates here, harming the ocean, the fish and marine life, and anyone who eats the fish. This is the largest and most well-known floating dump, but there are many others in oceans around the world.

The article stresses that we need to use less plastic. In 2004, Japan discarded ten million tons of plastic. I don't have a corresponding figure for the United States, but according to, Americans throw away 2.5 million plastic beverage bottles EVERY HOUR.

Every year, Americans throw away some 100 billion plastic bags, equivalent to dumping nearly 12 million barrels of oil.
Only 1 percent of plastic bags are recycled worldwide -- about 2 percent in the U.S. -- and the rest, when discarded, can persist for centuries. Source:

There is no excuse for the amount of plastic that we use and throw away. Recycling is of course good, but it can never be enough. We need to drastically reduce our use of plastic. That means I shouldn't eat so much bento. I should instead choose food that is not so heavily packaged. As consumers, we have the power to change the industry. Let's do it now.

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