Is the mottainai mindset unique to Japan?
Mottainai may be unique to Japanese culture in the sense that emphasis is made on an appreciation for the value of our possessions, and the respect for it to be deservingly taken good care of. Yet, the foundational essence of mottainai as a concept, the mindfulness to make the most of the resources we have, can be seen abundantly in different cultures. Recycling initiatives, both in the public and private sectors have become a global phenomenon and there are now diversifying practices to embrace the improvement of resource management. As example, many Australian households have rainwater tanks partially subsidised by the federal government and states. Reuse and repairing initiatives have also been increasing on a global level; in Sweden, people can get a tax deduction for fixing their TV, instead of throwing it out.
Across the heavily damaging fashion industry, exciting innovations are bearing fruit and which could have significant potential to transition fashion into a more sustainable industry. For instance, an Italy-based startup, Frumat, uses apple skin to generate a bio-based leather alternative, derived from the apple industry food waste. What’s more, Colorzen, from the U.S., has developed a patented treatment for raw cotton fibre, to make the cotton dyeing process less environmentally-damaging, saving 90% of water and eliminating 95% of toxic chemicals in the processing. On top of that, a ‘sharing’ economy model, which is an economic system in which commodities are shared between individuals, has begun to gain unprecedented popularity, where leading Chinese garment sharing platform Ycloset now has over 15 million registered users in one of the worlds fastest growing economies. It is encouraging to see variations of the mottainai concept and way of thinking spreading across global society and industries.