Home Society & Culture Eco Ben, Japan’s Answer to Environmentally Unfriendly Disposable Bento Boxes

Eco Ben, Japan’s Answer to Environmentally Unfriendly Disposable Bento Boxes

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Lazy bachelors have been doing this with their dishes since the invention of plastic wrap.

From train station platforms, to convenience stores, to supermarkets, there’s no shortage of places in Japan selling bento. These box lunches are delicious, convenient, and, generally, quite affordable. Unfortunately, though, these pr-eprepared meals are not particularly good for the environment.That’s because the food of a bento comes packed in a plastic container that just ends up in the trash after the purchaser is done with their meal. However, a number of shops selling bento in Tokyo’s busy Marunouchi district have teamed up with Japan’s Ministry of the Environment in order to help combat this problem.

Dubbed the Eco Ben (eko-ben), this bento features a new type of environmentally conscious container that utilizes a clear film comparable to plastic wrap in order to make recycling bento containers quick and easy.

The clear film covering the interior of the bento container can be peeled off very easily. Just start at the corner.
Peel the film off carefully and before you know it, you’ll end up with a totally clean container.

Because the interior surface of Eco Ben containers are coated in this transparent film, the food never comes into contact with the container itself. Once the purchaser of the bento is done eating their meal, they simply peel off the film–this is just like when you peel off the protective plastic from the screen of a new phone–and then take the container to one of several collection boxes located in the Marunouchi area. While the film and cover do get thrown away as trash, these used bento containers are then collected so they can get a new transparent film placed over the interior of the bento. Once this process is complete, the bento are then taken back to the shops so they can be used again.

An Eco Ben collection box

This “Eco Ben Project,” as it is being called, not only results in less trash, it also requires minimal water since unlike dishware Eco Ben do not have to be washed thoroughly after every use. Material explaining the project says that another benefit of this project is that if expanded it could be used as a significant source of employment for people with disabilities.

After eating your Eco Ben, throw the lid and clear film in the trash

Currently, there are about 20 shops participating in this project. However, if it proves to be a success it certainly seems like it could be expanded fairly easily into other business districts featuring a high concentration of bento-eating office workers.

If you would like to see footage of someone peeling off the Eco Ben’s clear film, check out the video below from ANN News.


In the mood for more bento-themed content? Then check out the article below.

Learn How to Make the Cutest “Kyaraben” Bento Around With This Japanese YouTube Channel [Video]

Source: ANN News, Marunouchi Project
Images: 話題の「エコ弁」 そのヒミツは・・・“ベリベリ”(19/09/23) (ANN News)

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