Wednesday, October 26, 2005

Change in the JA community?

After this project is over in Jtown, I think I will have to stay away from the neighborhood for a while. Yesterday, I popped into the center while they were having an event. What was on the food table? Lots of disposable chopsticks, styrofoam plates and no visible way way of disposing the chopsticks to the compost as I have been talking about the whole time. I was offered food and I pulled out my portable set. I can't force anyone to change, but you can imagine how frustrating it is after all the work, fundraising, artmaking, blah blah blah.

Lots of people have asked me what the response has been from restaurants. The restaurant staff in general have been supportive and in some cases very enthusiastic, but there is currently no system of recycling or composting in the mall. This is 2005! If you go to Japantown Center, you will notice that there are no places to put your beverage bottles and cans. That is because these are going directly into the landfill! The Japantown Center has three trash compactors in order to mash all the waste into their garbage bins - everything including, cardboard and all other recyclables is going into the landfill. The Golden Gate Disposal and Recycling Company did a garbage audit as a service to show the Japantown Center how much they could reduce waste and their costs. They found that by simply implementing recycling, they could save over 25% on their garbage bill! (which could be passed down to the businesses and their customers). Those savings could be applied to composting services for the enormous amounts of foodwaste generated from mall businesses. My sources say these improvements have fallen on dead ears.

I am very grateful to have had the opportunity to begin this project here, but I feel like I have been holding the reality of this project on my own. I think the Japanese American community's inertia on this and so many issues is enough to make this homegirl run screaming.

I leave for Spain next week for a much needed vacation.