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Article: Sustainable living! Special feature on ideas that can be done immediately

Sustainable living! Special feature on ideas that can be done immediately

Sustainability is something the world is currently trying to tackle together. The first step to protecting the global environment in the future is for each individual to live a sustainable lifestyle.

Let's think together about what sustainable living means.

~Contents of this article~

◯Sustainability and SDGs
◯10 ideas for sustainable living

Sustainability and SDGs

Sustainability and SDGs

Source: Ministry of Foreign Affairs

What is sustainability?

Sustainability means "sustainable/able to last." This is an effort to preserve the modern global environment and resources for future generations without destroying them. The concept of "Sustainable Development" was announced by the United Nations' World Commission on Environment and Development (WCED) in 1987 and has since spread around the world. Sustainability initiatives are expected from three broad perspectives: the environment, society, and economy. The SDGs are a collection of items that have been made more detailed and specific by digging deeper into this larger framework.

What are SDGs?

The Sustainable Development Goals were adopted at the United Nations Summit in September 2015. This is a common international goal that aims for a better world that leaves no one behind, and consists of 17 goals and 169 targets, with the aim of achieving sustainability by 2030.

The predecessor MDGs (Millennium Development Goals) were goals for developing countries, but the SDGs are universal goals that all countries, regardless of whether they are developing or developed, should strive for. However, this goal requires action not only from the government but also from society, businesses, and each and every individual. During this coronavirus pandemic, the world took the same direction and worked to calm down the pandemic, trying to fight together against one infectious disease. From now on, we must unite even more across countries to protect the environment itself.

10 ideas for sustainable living

Let's protect the earth! It's a pretty grand story, so I tend to think that it has nothing to do with me. However, the actions of each of us, such as choosing reusable items, can have a huge impact on stopping negative impacts on the global environment. Introducing sustainable ideas that you can start incorporating into your daily life!

①Food loss

food loss

Do you know how much food is wasted every year in Japan? In fiscal 2016 , approximately 27.59 million tons of food waste was generated. Volunteer activities that give unsold food to homeless and poor people are progressing in foreign countries, but this activity is still not developed in Japan. Therefore, the first steps to living a sustainable life are to use up what you buy, to not buy in bulk just because it's cheap, and to make a note of how much you can consume to avoid waste before purchasing.

Source: Ministry of the Environment, “Publication of the estimated amount of food waste and food loss in Japan (FY2016)”, 2019

②Local production for local consumption

Local production for local consumption

Local production for local consumption means that locally produced products are consumed locally. What is the relationship between sustainability and local production for local consumption? You may think this, but the imported food we often eat uses a variety of energy during transportation, as the ingredients are transported from far away. The energy used for moving trucks and freezing and refrigeration produces a lot of exhaust gas and carbon dioxide, which contributes to global warming. Furthermore, preservatives are often used in foodstuffs to make them last longer and chemicals are used to make them look prettier, which can have a negative impact on the human body. Therefore, not only can you reduce energy consumption by choosing locally produced ingredients for local consumption, but freshly harvested ingredients are highly nutritious and can be eaten with peace of mind.

③Balcony vegetable garden

balcony vegetable garden

Similar to the above-mentioned local production for local consumption, you can reduce excess energy consumption by growing food at home. A balcony vegetable garden is easier to start and maintain than a full-fledged vegetable garden. Additionally, since you can harvest the same produce every year, you can make sustainable ingredients at home. The good thing about this is that each household can grow only the amount they need, so there is no waste such as unsold items, and you can save money by that amount.



You can reduce your burden on the environment by using things you bring yourself instead of using disposable items from the store. For example, the biggest change in recent years is the introduction of charges for plastic bags. As supermarkets and convenience stores began charging for plastic bags, people began to carry their own eco-bags. There are many different types of eco-bags, and there are an increasing number of designs that are easy for people to carry and use, such as those that can be packed compactly or those that can be folded and attached to your own bag. In addition, by bringing your own bottle (tumbler) to the cafe, you can help conserve resources by not using paper or plastic cups. Also, depending on the store, you can get a discount of several 10 yen, so you can save money.



Did you know that the paper we use everyday is made from wood? Although it depends on the size of the tree, the amount of paper made from one tree is approximately 13,000 sheets of A4 copy paper. In 2013, the amount of paper used per person in Japan was 214.6 kg per year, approximately 588 g per day, or approximately 118 sheets of A4 paper. In other words, one person uses the equivalent of one tree in about three and a half months. Many of the trees that play a role in curbing global warming will be cut down, making it impossible to absorb carbon dioxide and causing global warming to accelerate. This is why the world has begun to move toward paperless. Digitalization has progressed in recent years, and books and newspapers can now be read online, making it easier to contribute to the environment. By reducing wasteful use of paper, we can conserve resources, eliminate the distribution process, and reduce waste.




The three R’s: “Reuse, Reduce, Recycle”

◎Reuse: Unlike recycling, reusing something in its original form without destroying the original form.
Example: Sell clothes, books, DVDs, etc. at flea markets such as Mercari and Rakuma. Have a store pick up your furniture that you no longer use. Rent items you need temporarily.

◎Reduce: To reduce the amount of waste as much as possible.
For example: Use my eco bag and do not receive plastic bags. Buy only the necessary items in the required quantity. Reduce food waste as much as possible when cooking.

◎Recycling: Reusing something that has been used once.
Example: Dissolve plastic bottles and reuse them as material for clothing. Dispose of milk cartons and other items for resource recovery or in-store collection. Thoroughly separate garbage.

Reuse is especially perfect for sustainable living!

⑦Organic cosmetics

organic cosmetics

Demand for organic cosmetic brands containing plant-derived ingredients is increasing. The characteristics of organic cosmetics are that they approach the natural healing power of our skin with skin-friendly ingredients, and are also environmentally friendly. The ingredients are grown in a recycling-oriented farm that does not use pesticides or chemical fertilizers to protect the soil environment and the microorganisms that live there. There are also brands that do not test on animals at all, and brands that collect and recycle empty cosmetic containers. In this way, we are working on sustainable initiatives using a variety of approaches.

⑧Organic detergent

organic detergent


We use many detergents every day, including detergents for tableware, laundry, and cleaning. Ordinary detergents used in daily life take many years to return to their natural habitat after being discharged into rivers and oceans. Surfactants made from plant-based materials revert to natural substances more quickly than regular detergents, and have almost no negative impact on aquatic life or the global environment. Women in particular often get rough hands from detergents, but gentle ingredients can be used with confidence.

⑨Share cycling

shared cycling


Shared cycling is becoming more common not only in tourist spots, but also in urban areas. By sharing cycling, you can enjoy the following benefits:
◎Lifestyle: There is no need to worry about delays or traffic congestion like with buses and trains, which are the main means of transportation.
◎Environmental: Exhaust gas can be reduced by traveling without using cars or buses.
Also, by using shared cycling to commute to work or school, there are benefits such as relieving yourself of lack of exercise and relieving yourself from the rush of commuting.



Sustainability is receiving a lot of attention in the fashion industry as well. Sustainable fashion guarantees the environment and the employment and safety of workers involved in the manufacturing process, and it is important that it is fair trade, which allows for continued transactions at a reasonable price. The fashion industry is the second most polluting industry in the world. Furthermore, forcing workers to work long hours at low wages is a problem. Therefore, clothes and sustainability are attracting attention. You can practice sustainable practices by paying attention to the materials before you buy clothes, or by buying stylish second-hand clothes at vintage shops.

Live a richer life with sustainable living!

The earth we live on today is the world left behind by people in the past. We too have a mission to protect the beautiful earth so that future generations can live a rich life without overusing resources. The earth is not disposable. To achieve this, let's start by adopting a sustainable lifestyle little by little!

“Kapok Knot” allows you to make sustainable choices, so be sure to check out the product page!


Editor's note

Although I started hearing the word ``sustainable'' in the world, I didn't really understand it. However, as I researched this topic, I realized that there are so many things we can do in our daily lives. First, knowing what your current situation is and what you can do to improve it is the first step to living a sustainable life. I want to continue working to protect the beautiful earth forever.