Vegetable Crayons - made mainly from vegetable powder, rice oil taken from rice bran and wax (courtesy of: mizuiro Inc.)
There are various projects in Japan that are trying to make good use of things like vegetables that are normally thrown away just because they are wonky or marked; vegetable waste that is produced in processing plants; and egg shells.
Adding the unique smell, bitter taste and color of vegetables to tea, crayons and clay
In recent years there have been a lot more ideas on how to eliminate waste. Vegetable tea is one such idea. Sliced vegetables are steamed and dried, or heated up, to transform the unique aroma and bitter taste of vegetables that would have been thrown away into a fragrant tea - making a positive change.
Focusing on the bright color of vegetables, there are also crayons that are made by crushing the vegetables into a fine powder and mixing it with wax that uses rice bran. These crayons that are attracting attention as items of stationery that are very safe. Also popular are clays that are made from vegetable powder and corn starch.
Tea that uses dried vegetables (courtesy of: FlowerTea)
Asparagus makes a fragrant tea if you dry and heat up the leaves and hard parts of the stem that are not normally eaten (courtesy of: FlowerTea）
Vegetable Crayons (courtesy of: mizuiro Inc.)
Vegetable Clay (courtesy of: mizuiro Inc.)
Using vegetable waste to dye material
Vegetable waste, which is generated when vegetables are processed, is also being reused. A company has been concentrating on the ever-growing amount of vegetable waste, which was just thrown out as garbage before, and has succeeded in using it in products. For example, manufacturers who produce cut vegetables create a huge amount of vegetable waste every day. Every day coffee shops create lots of waste from coffee beans, once they have been used to make coffee. Rather than being thrown away, Japan's own special technology (patented both in Japan and overseas) is using this waste to make colored materials and dyed yarn that is made into cloth - from which T-shirts and bags etc. are made.
A T-shirt and a bag that have been dyed using natural materials such as vegetable waste etc. (courtesy of: TOYOSHIMA&CO., LTD.)
Even egg shells are being reused
Egg shells are also something normally thrown away that are being reused in interesting ways. Japan is said to be the third largest consumer of eggs in the world. Eggs are essential in the manufacture of processed foods such as confectionery and mayonnaise etc. To date it has been difficult to use egg shells as a resource, so they have just been thrown away. However, egg shells have almost the same component as calcium carbonate, which is used in various industrial products such as construction materials, paper and plastic etc., and ways have been found to put them to good use. These days egg shells are being recycled into paint to draw white lines in school yards and chalk used in schools. It is popular as it is also gentle on the skin.
Egg shells are transformed into chalk and paint used to draw lines on sports fields (courtesy of: GREENTECHNO21 Inc.)
Trying to create a society that is friendly to both humans and the planet by making effective use of things that can be reused is providing us with the chance to put things that used to be thrown away as trash to new uses.