The Mottainai Trend: Waste not, Want not

The other day I had a mottainai moment.  Now that most super markets these days have  recycled bags, I think I have at least from all the major supermarkets in the Southern California area and including a few from abroad.  Despite this, I always manage leave them behind. So my mottainai moment was simply taking all of the reusable bags and tossing them into both the trunk and back seat of my car! Ok…maybe its  not a major mottainai moment but every little bit helps right?

And if you haven’t heard of the word Mottainai before, it’s a Japanese word that is often translated to mean ‘ what a waste’ or ‘waste not, want not’ and is often used to describe the regret or shame at having wasted something.

According to the Japanese Ministry of Foreign Affairs the word “mottainai”,  became a universal catchphrase through the campaigning of Kenyan environmental activist, Prof. Wangari Maathai based on her experience from a visit to Japan in 2005.  Since then her mottainai campaign has even added a forth R to the eco slogan : Reduce, Resue, Recycle … and Repair.

Prof. Wangari promoting "MOTTAINAI"

Prof. Wangari promoting "MOTTAINAI"

image from

The trend has shown itself recently in Japan according to a news article that recently appears on AFP about a super store in Japan has seen increased popularity in its mottainai corner, which contains items such as old soft drinks and seasonings that sell for less than a dollar.  Another popular mottainai trend has been the ‘My Hashi’ or  the “My Chopsticks” campaign which encourages everyone to use their own personal chopsticks even restaurants which are also ecnourage to discontinue use of traditional chopsticks make of wood.

How about you guys… any personal mottainai moments recently?

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Filed under car, eco-friendly, ecology, environmental, Japan, solar energy, Uncategorized, waste

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