A pop-up bar has opened up at a waste facility in Tokyo, where bar-goers can watch trash being incinerated while they drink, in an effort to get them to think about the waste they produce.
The bar, called the Gomi (Trash) Pit, was built thanks to local officials at the Musashino Clean Centre facility, western Tokyo.
Musashino is going to great lengths to ensure that its residents take care of the environment. While it’s common practice in Japan for people to sort their waste into different categories, Musashino also charges for the garbage bags the authorities collect.
These measures aim to encourage people to minimise waste, but local officials hope exposing people to the sight of the accumulated trash will have an even bigger effect.
At Gomi Pit, several dozen people sit at tables eating nibbles and sipping cocktails. The bar features glass windows that look down directly into the garbage pit that gets piled up for incineration.
Every few minutes, a crane dives down into it and grips onto the trash and sifts through it to make sure it will all get evenly burned. It can all be watched as it happens while you enjoy a drink or some snacks.
By exposing people to the actual sight of the trash they are creating, the local officials hope that the residents will give it more thought than just throwing their trash in a bag.
Gomi Pit is only temporary, but the Musashino Clean Centre facility is open to visitors year-round, and was designed to encourage people to come in and look around.
When they began planning the centre, which opened in 2017, they wanted to overcome potential local opposition by creating a place that would be seen as positive.
The facility is designed to be attractive, with wooden slats along the facade to mask the concrete shell, and windows at eye level to invite curiosity.
Each area is labelled in Japanese and English, and the control room has floor-to-ceiling windows on one side so visitors can watch technicians remotely handle trash and monitor the facility.
One of the windows even doubles as a touch screen: pressing different icons brings up information including the incinerator’s temperature and the amount of trash burned that day.
The facility didn’t come cheap: 10 billion yen ($91 million) to build and another 10 billion to operate over the next 20 years.
Rosa Medea is Life & Soul Magazine’s Chief. She writes about lifestyle including sustainable and green living. She also offers content services to businesses and individuals at Rosamedea.com