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Is Japan eco-friendly or eco-hostile?

Environmental contradictions start with the humble plastic bag

Japanese people peel the labels off plastic bottles before recycling them. (Photo by Ken Kobayashi)

TOKYO -- For newcomers to Japan, the biggest surprise may be the meticulous way garbage is sorted. There are specific collection days for combustible waste, noncombustible waste, glass bottles and cans, plastic bottles and hazardous trash, such as light bulbs and batteries.

Japan is especially scrupulous about recycling its PET bottles. Their quality is so pure that the uniforms of soccer teams Barcelona and Manchester City are made from bottles collected from Japanese landfills. 

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