How It All Started. Who. What. Where. When. Why. Everything you need to know.
It's me, Bianca. I genuinely hope all is well on your side!
I would like to talk to you about the situation of sustainable consumption in Japan, the circular economy and how it works, about what Zero Way Japan stands for and about me, Bianca, the leader of this movement.
This page serves both as an informative page and an invitation to join us. We are over 1000 members, both Japanese and foreigners, who are residing in, or are connected to, Japan.
Also, this same page serves as a pitch for potential investors who share the same values, understand my goals and want to become part of this amazing journey to change economy as we know it.
Now, lay back and enjoy.
I will start with a self introduction.
My name is Bianca Yamaguchi, but if you remember me as Bianca ZeroWay, I would be very happy. I was born on the shores of the Black Sea right after the fall of Communism. My family was simple and poor and I used to spend my summers in the countryside where I fell in love with nature.
At 7 years old I moved to a town near Vancouver, Canada with my parents, where I have lived for another 7 years. So by the time I was 14 I have already experienced 2 different cultures on 2 different continents. I experienced both the fast-paced city life where everything revolves around humans, and the slow-paced countryside, where humans work together with nature and live the way they were naturally born to.
I was top of my class all the way through school, including university. I got my BA in Psychology and Education. I was accepted at the Romanian-American University top of the list after writing my admission paper on Toyota’s 3M system (muri, mura, muda, which means elimination of waste, unreasonableness and inconsistency). Yes “unreasonableness” is an actual word :) As a consequence, when Toyota Japan came to Romania to recruit interns, I was the only one to be selected that year.
After a year in the Product Design Department, Corporate Value Creation Division at the Toyota Motor Corp headquarters, I moved to Tokyo where I worked for 5 years in a business consulting company called Japan Creative Enterprise. I have worked with big corporations as a marketing consultant for the first 2 years and as a sustainability consultant afterwards. In 2017 I opened the Zero Waste Japan consulting firm, in the hopes of helping both individuals and companies, including startups, to shift to a more sustainable lifestyle and working style respectively.
I have worked in several cities around Japan, from Hokkaido to the Kyushu island, eventually settling in the Kansai area where I found the most promise. During these 7 years in Japan I have also took over 10 online courses on sustainability, product design, innovation and of course circular economy, from several world renowned universities, out of which I will mention University of Tokyo, the SDG Academy, and Technological University of Delft, Holland, where I’ve learned how advanced Europe is when it comes to sustainability.
I have the confidence to call myself an expert in zero waste (not waste management as some might think), ethical consumption and innovation for sustainability.
I am also a single mother, raising a beautiful preschool aged half Japanese daughter. I am a (passive) vegan, an amateur salsa dancer and, believe it or not, a metalhead. I can speak 6 languages including Japanese fluently. I make my own websites, videos and blogs. Yes, I have time to do all that :)
My goal in life is to shift the world’s economy to a circular one, starting with that of Japan. I want to make the zero waste mentality a standard and encourage sustainable and ethical consumerism.
My values are very strong - I believe in ethical, responsible, sustainable consumerism. I believe in equality, equity and respect for all minorities and living beings. I believe that with Love, Acceptance and Respect for all, humankind can live a prosperous future and go ahead and pursue knowledge and spirituality freely. I know for a fact that we don’t need to sacrifice comfort and efficiency to adapt to a more sustainable lifestyle. We just need to be more aware and to prioritize differently. I know we can do it if we work together.
Thank you for reading of me talking about myself.
Now, you’ve read about me talking about the circular economy.
What is this exactly and how does it work? But most importantly, how does it affect us, and you, personally?
I always like to start my talks by explaining the beautiful concept of “The Butterfly Effect”. No, I’m not talking about the Ashton Kutcher’s movie :) I’m talking about the concept that says that every action, no matter how small it is, affects the unseen world in a bigger way than we think. Just like the soft current of a butterfly’s wings’ can turn into a tsunami on the other side of the Earth our actions can have huge consequences.
The same way, each and every choice you make daily affects someone on the other side of the planet. For example: even the small gesture of you sipping your coffee in the morning can affect how much a black child will eat that day. At the same time, the amount of food a child consumes that day comes back to you in an even more complex way. Because if a company realizes it can get away with using unethical practices, it means it will try to get away by using unethical practices on you, too, by not caring about what happens to the consumer after buying the coffee, about you and your values.
The big corporations know the fact that you prioritize speed and price over ethical consumption, so they will use that against you. Because you don’t care, they don’t care. That is how consumption works. The small choices you make every day affect how the world goes round.
Of course, there are a million choices you make every single day, so how can I ask someone to be aware of every little thing they do? Well, you don’t have to. As I will explain in this page, so stay with me until the end.
Now, our society and economy as a whole is currently based on a linear system:
Source - Produce - Sell - Consume - Dispose.
It has a starting point - the collection of the raw materials from the Earth and has an end - disposing the product at the end of its life. This is called a product’s “Life” or Lifecycle. This way of thinking - that the product has a beginning and end - is called a linear system. The economy is based on a linear system and so it is called a Linear Economy. Makes sense, yeah?
On a planet with infinite resources, this system would work perfectly. However...
A circular economy, just like its name suggests, is based on a circular system.
The product’s life doesn’t start with collecting raw materials, it starts with collecting or using materials that are already in the cycle, for example the waste of a different process or industry. In the same way, at the end of the product’s life, it will continue to be inside the system for as long as possible. It will be reused, recycled, repaired, remade, refurbished, remanufactured, in one word: reborn :) Like a Phoenix bird, raising from its own ashes.
This is the type of mentality that we need to adopt when making, buying, consuming or disposing of a product.
The companies that adopt this mentality needs to be supported by using our money, our buying power,
to “vote” for them. When you come across a company that has these values, buy from there, even if it’s a little bit harder than just going to the local supermarket. That’s why I’m saying we need to prioritize ethics over speed and price. We have to put our money where our mouth is if we want to change anything. We can’t continue to wish for a better world if we don’t make the steps towards it.
Why is this important? The reason is simple - we need to start paying more attention to how we manage our resources, because we are running out of them. And fast. But what exactly does this mean? Running out of resources means soon prices for everything will go up. Our life as we know it will change. And when resources are low, there is war. And war is the last thing we need as humankind, right? War is the most horrible, gruesome, anti-life form of human activity. It does not bring any value, just damage. Why would we want to damage what we have tried so hard to build?
I will continue by explaining about the concept of zero waste. Zero Waste is a concept that was initially used in the waste management industry to express a system where there are no byproducts of a process - aka no waste.
At the beginning of the 2010s the concept has gained popularity thanks to a French woman called Bea Johnson who was living in America with her husband, two kids and a dog and her entire household waste for a year could fit in a jar. That opened up a million opportunities for foreigners to expand the concept and apply it to their daily lives.
The concept has a few rules that, if followed, one can live a lifestyle where they create no household garbage. It can be applied to all industries, institutions and situations. The 5 popular rules are: Refuse, Reuse, Reduce, Recycle, Rot.
To which I’d like to added my own, mixing it with a few other concepts, and created "The Zero Way":
Repair, Repurpose, Remake, Rethink, Upcycle, Share.
I personally refuse to accept recycling as a rule. I think it’s high time we understand that recycling is a very very ineffective way of dealing with waste and should not even be on the list of alternatives. It takes as much, or sometimes more energy and resources to recycle something. It also kind of gives people permission to use recyclable materials just because they are recyclable.
Now the movement is taking the world by storm. Cities like Vancouver, San Francisco, Singapore, Paris have made it a priority to get rid of waste. Youtube is being filled with videos of people talking about their zero waste experiences. Businesses are starting to pick up on the trend and are adapting their business model. Like LUSH who has even eliminated the entire idea of packaging for some of their products. Bulk shops (stores where products are stored loose so one has the option to use their own containers and bags instead of buying something prepackaged) are popping up like mushrooms all over the world. (At the time of this video there were about 1600 of them only in the US).
Zero Way Japan (ZWJ) takes this foreign concept and localizes it. It understands the Japanese market, its needs, its business etiquette. Zero Way Japan is not just a company. It’s a community. As the representative of Zero Way Japan, I took the knowledge I have gathered from the big Japanese corporations I have worked with (Like Toyota and IBM) and blended them into the foreign zero waste concept creating “The Zero Way”. A unique concept to Japan that is the love child between the eastern love and the western efficiency.
I’ll explain what I’m talking about in a different section of the website. But for now, I want to talk about what we at Zero Way Japan stand for. I take the liberty to talk for everyone when I say we want a more sustainable future. A future with cleaner air, water, enough nature to support life on Earth, a good management of resources, efficiency, safety and comfort provided by the corporations but without damaging the environment. We also want safe work conditions for everybody. We want equality and equity. We want diversity. We want zero animal exploitation. We want zero waste.
And here comes the pitch, dear investors. Ready?
I know you are smart and understand the urgency of the need to shift to a circular economy, I know you are witty enough to pick up on the worldwide trend, and I know your heart is big enough to want your investments to bring as much positive impact on the world as possible, then investing in Zero Way Japan is a natural move for you. Also, if you have enough business acumen to risk investing in something nobody has ever tried before, then you might be surprised on how good it feels to change history. This is a high risk/unimaginable value investment.
Because I want every Zero Way product we sell, every Zero Way service we provide, I want it to affect the world like a butterfly’s wings in the most positive way possible. I want employees to be happy to work for us, not because the pay is good, but because they know their work has a higher purpose, a bigger impact. I will personally make sure that the entire cycle of a product, from birth to rebirth, will have the smallest environmental footprint possible. Each product will be made of recycled materials, will be fair trade and will last as long as possible. For each product I want to plant a tree somewhere in the world. No product will be tested on animals (or humans for that matter). I want equality and equity for everybody involved in the process.
We will closely work with the entire supply chain, from production to the end customer in order to provide not just the most sustainable products, but the most sustainable production processes at the same time! I will give the customer not just a good product, but a product they can feel GOOD about. They can feel proud of and that can give them superpowers.
I want to change the entire economy and consumerist industry by proving that ethics and sustainable practices are the only way to make a business truly successful… forever, not just now. Because we don’t just want to do business, we want to make history. For this reason, I want to make our practices completely transparent! Because I want all the businesses to copy us and thus add more positive value to the world. Like a butterfly’s wings.
We don’t want to be any company’s competitor. I am willing to cooperate with all the companies in the world and help them rethink their processes. I want to be an ethical, cooperative disruptor. Because I don't want to steal other company's customers, I want to remain in history as the woman who changed an entire industry. I want my team to be the most admired team in the history of economics. And I want a peaceful, happy, diverse, harmonious, sustainable economy. And a rich biodiversity!
That is my goal for Zero Way and I am willing to die trying to make my vision happen.
With all the love I am capable of,
Zero Way CEO & Founder