On July 1, 2020, it became obligatory for all retail shops in Japan, including convenience stores, to charge for the plastic shopping bags that they give to customers. This move was made as a part of measures to reduce the amount of plastic waste, which is causing serious ocean pollution. As an alternative to plastic bags, reusable eco-friendly bags look like becoming essential items for shopping.
There may not be many readers who remember, but in the days before it was taken for granted that retail outlets provided paper and plastic bags for purchased articles, people used furoshiki (square cloths for wrapping) and baskets to carry gifts and do their shopping. Hearing that furoshiki, which have a long history, are being reappraised as a reusable, eco-friendly item, I went along to the Musubi furoshiki shop in Tokyo to find out more.