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New Recycling Options

Author:Tim Boyle, Issue: July 2000, Topic: Environment

For many years, the "Aru Aru" Recycle Shop just north of Matsumi Park and "Max" in Matsushiro next to the PC Depot on Tsuchiura-Gakuen Sen were about the only places one could find used appliances and furniture. While those remain as good options to check out when looking for relatively cheap used items, two other welcomed options have recently become available.

People in the Takezono area had long depended on the Kasumi Home Center as their source of small hardware goods (especially when going all the way to Joyful Honda for some little thing was a bit much). In May, however, the Home Center suddenly closed shop and the two buildings they had occupied were transformed into two recycle stores with the "off-the-wall" names of "Off House" and "Hard Off.

Off-hand, I would say both stores are worth checking out if you are in the market for used items. The prices are quite reasonable, with items that appear to be practically new being half-price or less than prices in regular stores. Not only do they sell items, but they also buy good used items. Thus, while you'll probably get a better price selling things to a buyer directly (such as through the TAIRA net), this may be a good option to try for items you don't have time to sell or didn't get a buyer for otherwise.

The "Hard Off" store, the smaller of the two buildings, focuses on electronic items, such as computers, VCRs and TVs. One section is basically "junk" items that they sell as-is, but if you need to replace a monitor or keyboard for an older computer, they may have just what you need for only a few hundred yen. The newer items are repackaged with a plastic covering after they are cleaned up and tested, and include a 3 month warrantee.

The manager of "Hard Off" said that they will even buy electronic equipment that isn't working right if it looks fixable. I wouldn't expect a whole lot, of course, but certainly more than the trash man, which would be zero.

The larger store, "Off House" handles just about everything else, including furniture, pots and pans, sporting goods, and children's clothes and toys. They can even deliver larger items for a fee, but as the cheapest is 5000Y (and all the way up to 20,000Y for very large items), if you don't have a big enough car, I'd recommend bribing a friend to transport it. And if you live more than 10 km from the store, prices go even higher.

One interesting option they have is that you can pay for any goods you buy in U.S. dollars if you want to. I doubt many people would want to, but if you have a few dollars you want to get rid of, that may be a good way to do it.

One other new recycle shop is located in the "Little Akihabara" district (the line of electrical appliance stores across from the International Congress Center). Ishimaru has set up a small, used appliance shop in the parking lot between Ishimaru and Sato Musen. You'll see all sorts of nice looking refrigerators and washing machines with ridiculously low prices, like "300", "500" etc. lining the parking lot. The catch, however, is that they all have something wrong with them and have to be fixed in order to work. If you know what you're doing and have the time, then, of course, that might be a great way to go. Assuming that is not the case, however, they do have a nice little shop at the back of the parking lot that does have items that work, and so if you need a used refrigerator, washing machine, TV or other such item, you can get them for a reasonable price. They even have a few brand new items that have been slightly damaged in transit that are significantly discounted, and so if you don't mind a scratch or dent, you might want to check those items out as well.

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