Japan has always been on the forefront of the "green" movement. According to my friend Sora, when she was a kid, a truck would come around and shout out "Chirigami Kokan!" Chirigami is a combination of two words: "Chiri," meaning trash, and "gami" - a variant for the word paper, "cami." Kokan means "swap."
When the truck came around, Sora and her mom and siblings would run around collecting all of the newspapers and magazines of the week - and in those days there was a lot of paper reading going on - perhaps two or more newspapers per household. They would bring all of it out to the truck and the driver would weigh it with a special scale attached in the bed of the truck. Then, based on the weight of the papers, the driver would exchange the paper for toilet paper.
Yep, recycle papers in exchange for toilet paper.
This discussion came around because Sora, Jason, Marc and I were sitting in our living room and a truck was driving down the street with its driver screaming "saudake!" which Sora explained means "bamboo pole." Japanese use the pole to hang between two hooks on their balconies to dry laundry. There are trucks selling fresh tofu and grilled sweet potatoes. It's such an old fashioned yet personal way to do one's personal business.
This system is pretty much defunct now and there are more formal recycling venues, but the greening of a nation began years ago...