INTERVIEW EKOM @e.kommm
ALL PHOTOS COURTESY OF PLASTICOBSESSEDJAPAN @plasticobsessedjapan
It is no secret that Japan is highly revered for its inclination to maintain a presentable society, this includes its aesthetically pleasing packaging and product placement. Do you think these standards play a role in the extreme use of plastic, and specifically single-use plastic?
I think this might be one of the biggest contributors to the excessive use of plastic. I think the Japanese are very careful with how they present their products and their services. They want to offer the best product possible but what does that mean? Quite often, it means that they use excessive packaging to make a product look more appealing or hygienic.
The way one perceives beauty can be very simple or abstract in nature. Where do you look for beauty and how do you perceive it?
I find beauty in how people act and are towards others. Someone who is kind, conscious, empathetic and honest is someone I would find to be a beautiful person.
When did you first notice the extensive use of plastic in the country and what inspired you to start documenting it?
Before I moved to Japan, I used to buy all my fruits and veggies bare with no packaging from local markets. When I moved to Tokyo, I found it was almost impossible to buy my basic goods like tomatoes, oranges, and apples without an excessive amount of single-use plastic.
What do you feel the general attitude towards climate change and pollution is among those within the community? Do you believe oblivion has a role to play in the extreme use of plastic, or is it simple disinterest in the adverse effects?
I think the major issue is that people don’t actually notice the plastic around them. If this is what they have seen their whole life, then it’s hard for them to know that there can be another way. I also see that many people excuse the excessive amount of plastic because “Japan has one of the best recycling systems in the world.” But if you look closer, you see that it’s not quite as it seems. Japan burns the majority of plastic to create thermal heat which is used for electricity. Is that really recycling?!
Your Instagram account documents products like a single strawberry being packaged in up to 3 different types of plastic at once. How would you say these companies could start working smarter rather than harder when it comes to packaging their product?
They must find alternatives. Companies and individuals are getting so creative with eco-friendly packaging. They may cost a bit more but their impact is less harmful than single-use plastic.
How do you suggest people can take a stand against the excessive use of plastic that’s infiltrated the country?
Notice it! A study found that once a person NOTICES plastic, they can cut their consumption almost in half without really putting much effort into it.
What do you ultimately hope to accomplish with @plasticobsessedjapan
The main purpose of my account is to help people notice the plastic. I hope it opens their eyes to the absurdity around us and hopefully they will shop wiser and make better choices.