Japan's Wrap Attack: Reduce Waste With the 'Mottainai' Furoshiki

The Japanese "furoshiki," or "cloth for the bath," was first used in the 14th century as a way to wrap one's clothes while taking a public bath. Over the years, its uses were limited only by imagination and technique. That is, until the plastic bag went big in Japan (and everywhere). As Yuriko Koike, Japan's Minister of the Environment points out, this seems like a pretty good time to bring wrap back on a global scale. It's reusable, durable and versatile--and it makes wrapping and carrying stuff a heck of a lot more stylish than your typical sack of polyethylene. Many can be found here, but Koike has released her own version, its gorgeous birds-and-flowers motif on fiber manufactured from recycled PET bottles, apparently available only in Japan for now. She adds the word "mottainai" to indicate how shameful it is to waste something that hasn't fully been used. And how wonderful it would be to use the furoshiki (or any big, durable and pretty cloth) this holiday as both wrapping and present.

A cute instructional video and diagrams here and here explain how to dispatch waste and put a cloth to all its uses.

: : Japan Ministry of the Environment via Lifehacker.

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