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*This article is a reprint of an article published in STARTUPism on May 10, 2019.
Nature Innovation Group President Teruji Marukawa
When it suddenly rains, people rush to convenience stores and buy umbrellas as a stopgap measure "out of necessity" - this kind of haphazard and unplanned consumption behavior, in which people think that if something happens, they can just buy an umbrella at a convenience store, is responsible for the waste of 50 million plastic umbrellas per year. This kind of haphazard, unplanned consumption leads to the disposal of 50 million plastic umbrellas per year. Plastic umbrellas, straws, plastic shopping bags, and other plastic products have made our daily lives more convenient, but they have also created serious global issues such as marine pollution. In order to realize an environmentally friendly and eco-friendly service, Japan's first umbrella sharing service has been launched by a startup led by 24-year-old Mr. Marukawa.Nature Innovation GroupIt is.
70 yen per use. Eco-friendly and reasonable umbrella sharing service.
Aikasa" is an umbrella sharing service that enables umbrella rental and credit card payment through LINE (mini app), not through a smartphone app. The service can be used by registering a credit card in advance and adding "aikasa" accounts as friends (to do so). By tapping "Rent an Umbrella" on the talk screen, you can search for a dedicated installation location (AICASA spot), and also check the number of umbrellas remaining available at the selected spot on the map, as well as the time available. All umbrella handles are equipped with a QR code and utilize a QR code reader. For rentals, users scan the QR code of the umbrella they wish to borrow to confirm the number, and then enter the number into the dial lock on the umbrella handle to open the lock. When returning the umbrella, the QR code on the Aicasa spot is read to process the return and payment is made. The fee is 70 yen per day, and 70 yen is added for each day of late return, but there are no additional charges beyond the monthly limit of 420 yen. In addition, you can use the service within the same day without any additional charge.
Although this new service started in December 2018, it has already expanded to over 1,000 umbrellas installed in over 100 spots in Tokyo, including restaurants, convenience stores, and coworking spaces, with the number of users surpassing 5,000 in the first three months since its launch. In the future, we are considering developing plans for corporate customers, where employees can use "aicasa" free of charge, and for residents of apartment complexes, where they can use the service free of charge. First of all, our goal is to make Shibuya, a fashionable area where cutting-edge culture is born, into a town where people no longer need to buy plastic umbrellas.
We begin by recognizing the very nature of a society supported by mass consumption.
The rapid development of the Internet has brought about major changes in the structure of society, giving rise to a variety of services and transforming lifestyles. Among these, the formation and expansion of the "sharing economy" may be cited as something far different from conventional lifestyles. In Japan, the term "sharing economy" has gradually become more widespread and has attracted more public attention in the past year or two, as it has been covered in many media reports and has become one of the government's growth strategies. Perhaps the changing times, as well as the increasing number of people who feel the limits of a consumption-based economy overflowing with new goods, are beginning to discover a new value system of "sharing" instead of "individual ownership.
Users who have actually used "AICASA" have not only commented on the convenience of the service, saying "I have always wanted a service like this," but have also praised it as an environmentally friendly service, saying "It is a socially necessary service. In addition to promoting "aikasa" as a service, we would like to start raising consumer awareness by making people aware of the state of society itself, which is currently supported by mass consumption. This is because the first step to protect the earth in the future is to make clear our intention to make our own choices about products and services in our daily lives.
In a city where you don't need to buy plastic umbrellas.
Since the SDGs were adopted by the United Nations in 2015, it is expected to solve various environmental and social problems as part of business activities. In line with SDG Goal 12: Responsibility to Create, Responsibility to Use, Ai-Casa hopes to contribute to a happy, recycling-oriented society that enriches individual lives through the umbrella sharing economy.
The 3Rs (Reduce, Reuse, Recycle) have been promoted as part of the "recycling-oriented society" established in 2000, and I believe that "sharing (S)" will be added to the recycling-oriented society of the future. Again, the times call for individuals to take responsibility for protecting the future of the earth by making their own choices about products and services. In other words, we believe that the future of sharing services is not just about sharing goods, places, and services to reduce waste, but also about coexisting with society by making effective use of limited resources. It would be such a wonderful thing if we could create a new value system "3R+S," a new way of living that produces no waste. That is why I am trying to overturn the common sense of today, and I am trying to make people say, "In the past, when it rained, people used to buy plastic umbrellas! I really want to create a society where people say, "That's impossible!