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Title:Fuel made from ramen, dishes from coffee grinds: Japan rethinks food waste
Date:12/9/2022 1:00:25 AM

TOKYO — Though it throws out about 90 pounds of food per person every year, Japan doesn’t rank at the top of the world’s list of waste offenders. Still, what’s discarded represents a serious problem for an island nation with limited landfill space and a goal of greater sustainability.

Reinvention can offer an alternative. Japanese companies are taking vegetable peels, cooking oil, eggshells and other used foodstuffs and making entirely different products. Cement, for example. Even furniture.

Here are three companies with solutions that they hope will help their country cut its food waste in half by 2030, perhaps saving a bit of the planet along the way.

Tourists enjoy the Japanese countryside as they ride the Takachiho Amaterasu Railway's sightseeing train. Posing with the pink-and-white train is a favorite picture for tourists who visit the southern Japan town of Takachiho. Ingredients for the biodiesel fuel that powers the train come from a couple thousand restaurants in Japan.

After a powerful 2005 typhoon destroyed the railway in Takachiho, a town of about 12,000 people in southern Japan, local leaders decided it was too expensive to restore all train operations. The loss put an essential source of the town’s economic activity at risk.

The rebuilding that began on the railway itself is still underway. But a two-car, open-air train that offers tourists breathtaking countryside views now runs daily — its fuel processed from leftover lard from tonkotsu ramen soup and cooking oil waste from tempura, which is gathered from about 2,000 restaurants in Japan.

The chief executive of the company working to rebuild the train operations, Takachiho Amaterasu Railway, focused on environmental issues from the start. Fumihiko Takayama believed the town’s residents were partially responsible for the storm’s devastation because of the trees that had been cut down for housing and...

Organization:Washington Post - Climate and Environment
Date Added:12/9/2022 6:37:23 AM