May 2, 2009


Green School Festivals Spreading in Japan

Keywords: Education Reduce / Reuse / Recycle University / Research institute 

University students in Japan are working to make their annual school festivals more environment-friendly, by not only reducing their environmental impacts but also offering students and visitors opportunities to learn and think about environmental issues.

The huge amount of garbage generated by school festivals has long been a concern of neighborhood communities. In recent years, in response, an increasing number of schools have started assigning special staff during festivals that help people separate festival garbage into more than a dozen different types of material. Some schools have even started sorting out recyclables such as used oil, plastic bottle caps, and disposable chopsticks.

At the University of Tokyo's festival, students set up booths to provide information on green practices, as well as holding an eco-rally and selling eco-goods. At Waseda University, there were food stalls serving items from a zero-waste menu. And at Keio University, the collection rate of recyclable containers has been over 80 percent since 2006. As such, students are taking various creative approaches to tackle environmental problems during school festivals.

Students' efforts are not limited to their own schools; cooperation with organizers of other school festivals is also afoot. One example is Eco-Festa, a network of festival organizers linking 32 schools, including high schools and technical colleges, which promotes green festival practices by jointly purchasing green food containers, disposable chopsticks, and paper bags made from the byproducts of forest thinning, as well as holding workshops.

Posted: 2009/05/02 06:00:15 AM