Contributor: Sandra Fang
Yin Yang Japan Ambassador
Yoga Teacher based in Kansai (Yoga Alliance E-RYT200)
Main Teacher of Yogis English Workshop
As a yinyang yoga wear ambassador, I feel proud how the company always puts ethical practices on the top of their agenda. And last month, yinyang even moved one step further, to register as a zero waste company in Japan.
By coincidence, recently I read a book, Zero Waste Home, by Bea Johnson. A stylish and modern French-born woman, a mother of two, living in the U.S. shares her journey of how she and her family make their home waste-free.
Zero waste means no garbage is being produced. My life is far from zero waste, and I’m not planning to do it either. I’m simply curious how on earth, can some people achieve this!
Bea Johnson wrote in her book how tremendous benefits she has received from the zero waste practice. Like saving money since they are buying less, feeling healthier since they have eliminated plastic packaging and products, and having more time since they have less material things to maintain and manage.
Even if I don’t plan to pursue zero waste, I do believe that it is worth the efforts to reduce wastes to the extent that we feel comfortable. By being more aware of this issue and trying to cut down our wastes, no matter if it’s only 1% or 99%, that would help to keep our planet greener and to bring a little more freedom to our lives.
Now as I’m writing this, it’s the year end of 2020. My husband and I have just cleaned up our house and we put together 6 bags of 45L garbage, from junk mails to shoes that I’ve only worn once to the Christmas present from a year ago that I’ve never used.
Living in the cities in Japan, I can imagine how nearly impossible it would be to practice zero waste even if one wants to try. I can’t even think of a grocery store in my area that sells package-free grocery. All vegetables and meats are wrapped in layers of plastics. As far as I could remember, back in Canada, most of the stores don’t wrap their fresh products individually. (I’m not sure if it has changed due to covid-19) Maya Hanson from the yinyang team has started to organize Naked Market once a month at Yoga Studio Tamisa Matsuiyamate studio and Sanjo studio. Vendors come to the event to sell fresh vegetables without plastic wraps. We definitely need more naked foods in Japan.
I think the most effective way to produce less waste is to buy less. Like many women, when I have a little money to spare, I too find pleasure in buying things, fancy clothes and dressy shoes even if I only use them once a year. I need to constantly remind myself only to buy things that I love and that I will use often. If I could save a bit of money on material things, I could use the money to enrich my life, like go watch a musical concert or go on a family trip, or take a cooking course, etc.
A line in Bea Johnson’s book really stayed in my mind, “I agree with Yves Saint Laurent, fashions fade, style is eternal.” Fashions defined as trends are changing every season, but personal style is shaped by our personal tastes, creativity, values, and confidence.
May we make our choices mindfully, may we live a fuller life, and may our planet be greener.