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Velo taxi leader linking environment to free rides

Date Posted: 2010-02-11

Etsuko Takaesu knows the taxi business, operating Velo Taxi on Kokusai Street. She’s also a committed environmental activist who’s linking the collection of PET bottle caps to free taxi rides.

Takaesu, whose NPO Ecomo.i operates pedal-powered Velo taxis in downtown Okinawa, says she’s trying to make everyone get involved with loving the earth and protecting the environment. She’s calling her project “Kokusai Street Heart on Eco Caps Project”. It’s a simple-but-effective project: she’s asking every citizen to help create a beautiful eco shopping center by bringing PET bottle caps to her instead of throwing them away.

The incentive is passengers can ride the velo taxis along Kokusai or in the nearby area free as a thank-you for donating the bottle caps. She’s decorated the velo taxi with pet-bottle caps, and is encouraging people to bring more on Sunday, when Kokusai is transformed into a vehicle-free Transit Mall. As she began the project last Sunday in front of the Prefecture Hall on Kokusai Street, citizens brought the NPO ecomo.i more than 24,000 bottle caps.

The bottle caps are sold to a PET bottle company for re-use. The money made from the project is donated to protect the Yambarukuina birds, or for an animal protection project with a veterinary hospital. Takaesu says she’ll be looking for thousands more bottle caps this Sunday between 1 p.m. and 6 p.m. at Kokusai Street.

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