Supermarkets Going Green in Tsukuba

no_bags Been to the grocery stores lately? Then perhaps you have seen the poster above. The owl (the bird symbol of Tsukuba) is holding an eco-bag, and the announcement at the top says: レジ袋の無料配布が中止となります。 Starting from September 1, the free distribution of grocery bags will be stopped.

At the bottom part, it says: お買い物はマイバッグ持参で!Bring your own bag (My Bag) when shopping!

I think this is a welcome development. I myself have bought my own basket (strangely called "My Basket," which is actually redundant because I bought it and so it’s a given that its my…ahm, never mind!) so I won’t have to use the plastic grocery bags. Except for the part where I have to lug the big basket to my car whenever I go out for groceries, using it is quite convenient and useful actually.

Here’s why:

1) I don’t have to waste time bagging my own groceries. They just put a strip of paper on top of the basket after I pay at the cashier. I then carry the basket back to my car.

2) I don’t have to worry about bags tearing apart in unexpected places.

3) I don’t go crazy anymore in trying to find places to stick the grocery bags into. In the past I used to accumulate a lot of grocery bags (usually 3 to 4 pieces each time). I normally use them to put in non-burnable garbage like PET bottles, glass bottles, etc. But the supply is so much more than demand because at the end of the month I would have a bagful of unused plastic bags.

4) Aside from the convenience, I even have a stamp card – each time I use the basket, I get a stamp. When I accumulate 20 stamps, I get 100 yen discount. Not bad!

Ang basket ng Lola mo: Mai Basketto. Bow. 😀


But until now, the use of baskets and so-called e-bags (eco-bags) has been optional. Finally, the city government has taken upon itself the task of finding ways to drastically reduce the amount of plastic bags being used in shopping, at least for grocery stores. Some of these stores are already implementing measures to reduce plastic bags, like Kasumi for example, where I use the basket. I only do my groceries once a week so a big basket does the wonderful job of accommodating a week’s worth of groceries. Those who find it too cumbersome to bring a basket use cloth e-bags as substitute. I think e-bags are convenient when shopping for only a few items at a time.

Anyway, so starting September 1, no more free plastic bags will be distributed at the stores listed below. I wonder how much they will be charging for the bags? My guess is that it will vary from store to store.


Kasumi: Tsukuba, Gakuen, Oho, Tsukuba Asse, Technopark Sakura, Umezono, Gran Pleche, and Midori no Eki Mae stores

Kadoya: Toyosato and Yatabe stores

City Market: Uomatsu, Uomatsu Kamigo, and Uomatsu Takamihara stores

Jusco: Tsukuba store

JA Tsukuba Yatabe store, A-Coop Katsuragi store

Torisen Kenkyuugakuen store

New Quick Tsukuba store

Fresh Yaokane

Masuda: Kukizaki and Namiki stores

Marumo Gakuen store, Marushe

Yamauchi: Takezono and Matsushiro stores

(Note: Kindly let me know if I got some stores’ names incorrectly! :) )

It’s funny, come to think of it, because once upon a time we actually used rattan baskets whenever we go to the palengke (wet market) in the Philippines. Then the big grocery stores came and plastic bags became the convenient way to put your groceries in. Baskets became outmoded: baduy, in Tagalog-speak. With modernization came plastics. Lots of them. Before we knew it, we have a mountainful of garbage.

We realized, although belatedly, that the conveniences of modern life come with a hefty price. Sometimes a mere return to the basics, the old style of life can make a difference.

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3 Responses to Supermarkets Going Green in Tsukuba

  1. noel says:

    here in cebu, the sm department stores are also promoting what they call the green bag. it’s green (of course) and are sold at a minimal amount. each time you use it, you get 2 rewards points (sort of loyalty points which you can convert to cash). lots of bags have already been sold, but i haven’t seen anyone actually using them when buying groceries (including me). we have around five of the green bags but we always forget it when we do our groceries. i wonder why

  2. kathy says:

    Noel, that’s great news. But to maximize the use of these bags, perhaps it would be good to stick to a schedule when doing groceries so you won’t forget when to bring your e-bags. At first it was a little cumbersome to bring the basket each time I go out for groceries, but after a while I got the hang of it. 😉

  3. annamanila says:

    This post made me feel guilty. I still do it the old way, accumulating 7 or 8 plastic bags each shopping week. I have ignored the green bags that have been put up for sale near the checkout counters. Uhhrrm .. i should do something.

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