“Subscription” allows a customer to use a product or service for a fixed period of time for a fixed price. Combined with the increased demand for nest eggs due to the impact of the new coronavirus, the subsk market has expanded rapidly in recent years.

The “subscription system”, in which users rent what they need when they need it and return it when they no longer need it, is a system that provides “optimal” solutions in response to changes, while at the same time promoting waste reduction and recycling, thereby contributing greatly to the realization of a sustainable, recycling-oriented society. In addition, there are many forms of service that are less expensive than purchasing, so there is a monetary advantage to introducing this system.

According to “2022 Subscription and Flat-rate Service Market Status and Outlook” compiled by Yano Research Institute Ltd. The shift from purchasing and owning goods and services to “sharing” is progressing.

In this column, we introduce seven environmentally friendly subscriber services that can be introduced to hotels and restaurants, including store interiors and supplies.

Table of Contents

Contributes to waste reduction

1. “CLAS” furniture subscription

“CLAS”, which aims to realize a society that does not throw things away in order to achieve SDG Goal 12 “Responsibility to Create Responsibility to Use”, offers a subscriber service that allows users to freely and easily use and exchange furniture and appliances starting at 440 yen per month.

CLAS repairs and refreshes returned items by professional repairers and lends them to the next user, thus circulating the products instead of discarding them. In addition, CLAS’s own brand, the CIRCLE series, manages each piece of furniture by parts, which enables the company to deal with partial damage and deterioration.

CLAS’s own brand “CIRCLE” sofa

Regularly changing the furniture and furnishings in hotels and restaurants changes the atmosphere and pleases repeat customers. On the other hand, replacing them with new ones is costly and wasteful. If it is a rational choice, not only from an environmental perspective, but also when considering initial and running costs, such a service is one way to go.

[Related article] “CLAS,” a furniture and home appliance subscription service, collaborates with Kyoto City to reduce the amount of large-size garbage generated

Reduces renovation costs, time, and waste

2. “SHI-KI” wallpaper subscription

The “SHI-KI” subscriber service offered by “O-line Inc.” allows customers to change their interior design up to four times a year, starting at 40,000 yen per month, including installation, depending on the four seasons.

Because it is constructed using Japanese paper, the cost, time, and waste associated with interior renovations can be significantly reduced. Furthermore, a wide variety of washi paper designs allow for arrangements in Western as well as Japanese styles. In addition to its ability to regulate indoor humidity and purify the air, Washi paper is a traditional Japanese craft that is sure to be appreciated by foreign guests.

[Related article] “SHI-KI,” a store interior decorating sub-service using Japanese paper

Contributes to reduction of floral loss

3. “bloomee” flower subscription

“blomee”, a flower subscription service that delivers seasonal flowers on a weekly basis, contributes to the reduction of floral loss by purchasing flowers that are deemed out of standard due to insufficient stem length or other reasons, even though they are of good quality, at a fair price commensurate with production costs.

blomee, which aims to make the entire supply chain sustainable from the distribution stage, has strengthened its partnerships with growers who are engaged in environmentally friendly production activities, such as cultivation with reduced pesticides, etc. In October 2022, blomee became the first company to receive the “MPS-FLORIMARK GTP” mark, an international certification that certifies flower producers and distributors are conducting production and distribution in compliance with environmental, legal, quality and other standards.

blomee's unique packaging using paper made from recycled materials and botanical inks made from plant-derived materials

blomee’s unique packaging using paper made from recycled materials and botanical inks made from plant-derived materials

Contribute to achieving carbon neutrality and zero-waste

4. “BambooRoll” toilet paper subscription

BambooRoll, a subscriber service that delivers 100% “bamboo” derived toilet paper by regular delivery.

Bamboo is gaining attention as an alternative resource to plastic and wood due to its fast growth and ability to absorb carbon dioxide. According to a report published by “INBAR”, an international bamboo and rattan organization, bamboo absorbs more CO2 than coniferous and hardwood trees in the first five years after planting. BambooRoll aims to create a cycle of harvesting, using, and

BambooRoll also focuses on environmental impact not only in terms of raw materials, but also throughout its life cycle. All electricity used in the manufacturing process is generated by hydroelectric power, a renewable energy source, and is not bleached. The packaging is made of plastic-free recycled cardboard, and the toilet paper core (made of bamboo) and cardboard can be recycled, resulting in zero-waste packaging.

[Related articles] Toilets can be sustainable, too. “BambooRoll” Toilet Paper Made from Bamboo

Enables circulation of dishes

5. “sarasub” plate subscription

sarasub“, a subscription service that specializes in serving plates, allows customers to use fine bone china tableware made by Nikko Company, a long-established ceramics manufacturer established in 1908, at a low initial cost.

Currently, the tableware industry is facing the depletion of natural resources such as soil and stone, which are indispensable for the production of high-quality tableware. On the other hand, tableware is recognized as a consumable item in restaurant and hotel settings, and in many cases, prioritizing the cost of introduction over strength based on the assumption that it will break often results in increased waste.

Under such circumstances, the company proposes “sarasub,” which collects dishes after the contract expires and reuses, repairs, and refurbishes them as much as possible, in order to make effective use of precious natural resources. By crushing dishes that are no longer usable and recycling them as new resources, the company aims to realize a society in which dishes are not discarded and can continue to be used.

All of Nikko Company’s tableware is made at the company’s factory in Ishikawa Prefecture, and has been used by many hotels and restaurants in Japan and abroad because of its high quality. By renting the plates for a fixed monthly fee instead of purchasing them, customers can use the company’s high-quality dishes while keeping initial costs down.

Restaurants that are using the system have commented that “customers are taking more pictures of their food” and “more of their food is being distributed on social networking sites” as a result of changing the plates that customers hold in their hands to high-quality ones.

[Related article] sarasub: Creating a world where dishes are not discarded and continue to be used

Waste-free, plant-derived fiber

6. “Bio Towel” towel subscription

“Bioworks Corporation” offers a towel subscription service that delivers “Bio Towel”, a plant-derived antibacterial towel, once every three months. Bio Towel is made from high-quality cotton and “PlaX Fiber”, a polylactic acid fiber made from corn and sugarcane that does not contain materials derived from fossil fuels.

While polylactic acid fiber is an environmentally friendly material that is biodegradable and does not increase CO2 in the atmosphere when burned, and can decompose into water and carbon dioxide in a certain environment after use, it has not been widely used because it cannot be dyed. The company solved this problem by adding a proprietary plant-derived additive to polylactic acid to create PlaX Fiber, which has improved quality, function, and dyeability. The company’s regular delivery service collects towels after use and disposes of them properly through composting and recycling, thereby contributing to the elimination of waste.

Because towels are in direct contact with customers’ skin, they should always be clean and comfortable. Towels, which tend to become stiff and hard with continued use, could be used as a means to regularly change towels without generating waste.

Organic vegetables picked in the morning and delivered on the same day

7. “Morning Vegetables Chef’s FARM,” a subscription of our own farm.

“Morning Vegetables Chef’s FARM” provides restaurants with a private farm, grows vegetables using organic fertilizers and pesticides on their behalf, and delivers vegetables harvested early in the morning to the restaurant on the same day.

The service is available from 12,000 yen per month, and in addition to the cultivation service, vegetable seedlings and seeds are also provided, making it easy to have a private farm. In addition, about 20 types of vegetables can be harvested throughout the year, and the company can also accommodate customers who want to grow other vegetables in addition to the types provided. By utilizing this service and having a private farm close to the store, it is possible to realize local production for local consumption.

Editor’s Note

How was it? In this column, we introduced seven environmentally friendly subscription services that can be introduced to hotels and restaurants.

Subscription often use a form of service that is less expensive than purchasing, and the introduction of this service has the advantage of reducing costs and eliminating the need to place orders. Furthermore, as consumers have become more environmentally conscious in recent years, promoting environmentally friendly practices can lead to increased customer satisfaction and differentiation from other stores.

While it may be challenging to start a new environmentally friendly initiative, it may be easier to start by introducing a subscriber service that also offers these management benefits.

[Related Article]


[Reference site] Domestic Subscription Market to Surpass 1 Trillion Yen in FY2010
[Reference site] CLAS, a subscription service for furniture and home appliances, selected for the “KYOTO CITY OPEN LABO” project sponsored by the City of Kyoto to promote public-private collaboration and problem-solving
[Reference site] [Contribution to SDG Goal 12 “Responsibility to Create Responsibility to Create] CLAS’s own recyclable PB furniture “CIRCLE” series is doing so well that production is being increased by 200%!
[Reference site] Flower subsk “Blue Me” strengthens promotion of SDGs, renews packaging to be more environmentally friendly
[Reference site] Bloomy strengthens purchasing from flower-growing regions that are committed to the SDGs
[Reference site] “sarasub”, a sub-service for take-out plates for restaurants, begins accepting applications from stores that have introduced the service.
[Reference site] “BambooRoll”, a regular delivery service of toilet paper made from bamboo, officially launched on May 12! Also started to be introduced in cafes, offices and stores nationwide!
[Reference site] INBAR “Bamboo and Climate Change Mitigation”
[Reference site] “Bio Towel”, an antibacterial towel containing PlaX Fiber, is now available through a regular delivery service.
[Reference site] Bioworks partners with Apparel Planning, AnyMind Group, and TBM on modified polylactic acid “PlaX” to develop collaborative products
[Reference site] Satoyama Share Morning Pickled Vegetables Chef’s FARM

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