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Top>HAKUMON Chuo [2014 summer Issue]>First year students reusing discarded materials of graduating students The Reuse Market: First-ever research project by a university seminar in Japan

Hakumon CHUOIndex


First year students reusing discarded materials of graduating students

The Reuse Market: First-ever research project by a university seminar in Japan

Chuo University FLP Sasaki Seminar

Giving form to the concept of mottainai (using resources wisely), the Chuo University FLP Sasaki Seminar held a Reuse Market in spring, a free event for new students providing recycled furniture that are no longer needed by graduating students.
This was the first time in Japan that a university seminar held a project such as the Reuse Market, in collaboration with the municipal government (Hachioji City).

Furniture is cleaned for new students.From left: Goseki and Katsumine
Photograph provided by the Sasaki Seminar.

Some furniture were kept at the university storage.

Officials from Hachioji City helped the project, driving trucks and transporting furniture. Mr. Sato is pictured on the right.


Pulling a bicycle trailer loaded with furniture up a hill was hard work! From left: Goseki, Matsukawa.

Sato (front) enjoys pushing a light hand truck while Hori (back) struggles with a heavy bicycle trailer.

An older student of the FLP Sasaki Seminar was quick to notice the lamentations of officials from Hachioji City. Two years ago, graduating students of the seminar met a city official at a seminar workshop and learned about the collection and disposal of items thrown away in spring by graduating students. This was the beginning of a new theme.

A decision was made to hold a Reuse Market. Full-scale preparation began from April of last year, about 1 year after formulating the concept of the event.

After conducting a research, seminar students went to interview Yokohama National University which was known to lead this activity. A partnership was formed with Hachioji City, and the seminar project was selected as a model project of the Reuse General Consultation Center of Hachioji City Hall.

In 300 rooms of shared residences operated by the Chuo University Coop across campus, the seminar posted flyers calling for donation of furniture no longer needed by graduating students. In Japan, it often costs to throw away large items, but for this event, seminar students would go and pick up the furniture for free. It was a win-win situation for both parties.

Hachioji City cooperated with the transportation of donated furniture. The city even provided a truck and driver. Hachioji City is home to 21 universities (see table at end of article) and hopes to expand the project in the future.

The discarded furniture was cleaned and repaired by seminar students. They created a catalog which indicated the size and weight of each item. In total, 61 pieces of recycled furniture were collected, including shelves, desks, tables, television stands, fans and storage cases. Currently the project excludes home appliances in concern for safety and the Recycling Act.

Home Appliance Recycling Act
This law seeks to reduce waste products and realize efficient use of resources through recycling of useful parts and materials from home appliances (air conditioners, television (cathode-ray tubes, liquid crystal, and plasma), refrigerators/freezers, washing machines, dryers, etc.) which are disposed of from ordinary households and offices. (Homepage of Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry)

One, two, three…lift! From left: Mamiya and Yoshimura

Yoshimura shows off by carrying a desk by himself.

Handing out flyers to new students.

Ochiai looking excited about holding the Reuse Market

Posters were put up throughout campus to announce the holding of the Reuse Market. Seminar students attended gatherings for new students to advertise the event. On the day of the event, seminar students handed out flyers. Information was also provided on the seminar homepage.

Placing furniture in an easy-to-view position. From left: Yoshimura, Mamiya

Central Plaza was filled with 61 pieces of furniture, television stands, storage boxes, and bookshelves.

The Reuse Market was held at Central Plaza, a space located between the Central Library and Hilltop on the Tama Campus. Central Plaza is also the site of the sending-off party for Chuo athletes who were competing in the London Olympics.

The Reuse Market opened on March 25th and continued until April 5th. Although the plaza has a roof, both sides of the rectangular venue were open to the outside. Strong winds caused the furniture to fall over. Rainy weather created puddles and resulted in the event being suspended. The seminar received permission from the Chuo University Coop to use a portion of their storage space. During the event, seminar students were constantly worried about the weather. In the end, 42 of the 61 pieces of furniture were claimed by prospective users.

In addition to being offered for free, the furniture had been cleaned and repaired. Consumption tax in Japan has been raised to 8% and allowances to boarding students have decreased for the 13th consecutive year. In such circumstances, new students were especially grateful for the Reuse Market. Seminar students were devoted enough to use hand trucks to carry furniture to nearby residences. In the case of students who requested delivery, the furniture could be obtained for the cost of delivery fees only.

“The Reuse Market was the first project of its kind, and I was worried whether it would actually be held,” said a smiling Sakika Maezawa (the seminar leader, 3rd-year student at Faculty of Economics) as she watched a happy 1st-year student returning home with recycled furniture. “Seeing the joy on the faces of new students makes me glad that we held the event. The preparation was time-consuming and hard work, but very fulfilling.”

Through their activities, seminar students faced current social conditions. Licensing as a secondhand dealer is required in order to continually sell discarded articles acquired from the general public. On the other hand, if a defect were to be found in the furniture provided to new students, there would be the possibility of responsibility under the Product Liability Act which determine manufacture liability, despite seminar students acting as an intermediary.

“I studied laws which I had never heard about before,” laughs bitterly Maezawa. “There was so much research to be done.”

“We learned about applicable laws under the guidance of officials from Hachioji City,” said seminar student Hiroki Ochiai (3rd-year student at Faculty of Law) when discussing his commitment to the project. “We had to understand laws in order to bring happiness to both graduates and new students. We certainly didn’t want to cause trouble for anyone.”

Looking like a furniture shop

At the reception. From left: Watanabe, Goseki

Carefully inspecting even the back of the furniture. From left: Katsumine, Goseki. At center, a new student looks on carefully.

The plaza at dusk. Furniture awaiting their new owners.

Activity report attracts much attention.

On May 19th, the Chuo University FLP Sasaki Seminar finalized its activity report. Having reviewed by officials from Hachioji City and the Ministry of the Environment, the presentation of the Reuse Market Environmental Load Measurement stirred great interest.

Ochiai (left) and Maezawa reflect on the Reuse Market activities.

“The Reuse Market realized a reduction of 328.10 kilograms in waste.”
“The project reduced Hachioji City’s monthly large garbage amount by 0.19%.”
“The rate of cooperation from Chuo University graduates was 0.78%.”

This data is useful in clarifying themes and focus for future activities.

Even if the impact and dissemination rate are small, there is still great meaning in calculating such numbers for the first time. The effort of seminar students is clearly reflected in the data.

The term mottainai was first endorsed by Wangari Maathai, a Kenyan environmental activist who won the Nobel Peace Prize in 2004. Today, the term has become a global standard. The Sasaki Seminar started Reuse Market based on the concept of mottainai. Seminar students were compelled to conduct an environmental activity which would make people happy and help them save money.

More Information

Seminar students gathered around Associate Professor So Sasaki (center of front row) at an overnight sports tournament held last spring.

Seminar students gathered to hold a meeting even during spring vacation. From left: Sato, Goseki, Katsumine, Maezawa, Morita, Matsukawa.

■Sasaki Seminar
Started from the 2012 fiscal year. Associate Professor So Sasaki leads a team of four 2nd-year students, ten 3rd-year students, and four 4th-year students.

■Monthly allowance given to students at private universities reaches a record low level of 80,000 yen
According to a survey conducted by the Tokyo Federation of Private University Faculty and Staff Unions, an average monthly allowance of 89,000 yen was given to boarding students who entered private universities in the Tokyo metropolitan area in the 2013 academic year. This marked the 13th consecutive year in which the allowance amount has decreased. It is also the lowest amount since the survey was started in 1986. The monthly allowance for boarding students decreased by 5,000 yen from the previous academic year. When compared to the peak amount of 124,900 yen in 1994, it has decreased by nearly one-third.

■Storage cases are approximately 1,500 yen
Storage cases with drawers are sold for 1,463 yen at a mass retail store in Tokyo. Large cases are sold for 1,648 yen. Three-level cases for use in closets are priced at 3,685 yen.

■Monthly part-time wages of students are less than 50,000 yen
According to a survey by the job advertisement magazine an, the monthly part-time wages of students living alone is less than 50,000 yen. At 52.5%, more than half of students worked two or three times a week. The largest group of students (56%) has a monthly income of less than 50,000.

■Members of the Sasaki Seminar
▽Responsible Faculty Member: Associate Professor So Sasaki, Faculty of Economics
▽Seminar Students
Name Grade Position Undergraduate School High School
Hirohiko Ichinose 4 Seminar Leader Faculty of Letters Saitama Prefectural Urawakita High School
Kaori Fujii 4 PR Faculty of Policy Studies Kanagawa Prefectural Kibogaoka Senior High School
Issei Suzuki 4 HP・SNS Faculty of Economics Kanagawa Prefectural Hiratsuka Konan High School
Yukiko Watanabe 4 PR Faculty of Law Tochigi Prefectural Utsunomiya Girls High Schoo
Sakika Maezawa 3 Seminar Leader Faculty of Economics Tokyo Prefectural Chofukita High School
Hiroki Ochiai 3 Advertising Faculty of Law Chuo University Senior High School
Tomoya Hori 3 Manual Creation Faculty of Economics Gifu Prefectural Nagara High School
Yohei Mamiya 3 Secretary Faculty of Policy Studies Setagaya Gakuen High School
Airi Sato 3 PR Faculty of Law Chuo University Senior High School
Masashi Morita 3 HP・SNS Faculty of Economics Chiba Prefectural Kogane High School
Kasumi Watanabe 3 PR Faculty of Economics Chuo University High School at Bunkyo
Yu Yoshimura 3 Manual Creation Faculty of Law Chuo University Senior High School
Mayu Katsumine 3 Advertising Faculty of Letters Kanagawa Prefectural Yamato High School
Keisuke Matsugawa 3 Accounting Faculty of Law Chuo University Suginami High School
Moemi Goseki 3 Advertising Faculty of Commerce Chuo University High School at Koganei
■Universities and technical colleges in Hachioji City (from city homepage)
School Name Year Established
Kogakuin University 1963
Meisei University 1964
Tokyo National College of Technology 1965
Teikyo University Junior College 1965
Teikyo University 1966
Tokyo Zokei University 1966
Tokyo Junshin Women's College 1967
School Name Year Established
Kyorin University 1970
Tama Art University 1971
Soka University 1971
Tokyo University of Pharmacy and Life Sciences 1976
Takushoku University 1977
Chuo University 1978
Nihon Bunka University                1978
School Name Year Established
Hosei University 1984
Soka Women's College 1985
Tokyo University of Technology 1986
Tokyo Metropolitan University 1991
Yamano College of Aesthetics 1992
Yamazaki Gakuen University 2004
Digital Hollywood University 2006