Monday, January 25, 2010


In case you were suddenly taking the USA's method of Trash Disposal for granted I would like to let you in on the experience here in Japan.

First, everything must be separated and if it is not you get this huge orange ticket on your trash bag! I mean what are you supposed to do with that? Plus, I don't know about any of you but once I deliver my trash to the curb - I don't necessarily go back for it.

Now on to the the separation. Everything must be separated into burnable / un-burnable. After which, it must be separated into plastic, paper, glass, burnable trash like food, aluminum, and so on. Everything must be placed in a special clear city approved trash bag - which you must buy YOURSELF.

Next, there is trash pick up. Each form of trash has a designated trash pick up day (much like the USA) - here at our apartment it 3x a month for burnables and 2x a month for un-burnables (not like the USA). If you put something out on the wrong day - yup, you get an orange ticket - we are still unsure how they enforce these tickets and we are convinced it's mostly so your neighbors can give you the stink eye.

Now, the attention to recycling is something that could be taught to the whole world, I mean it could truly be the future of trash disposal - it's unbelievably amazing. This is just a post to let you all know how completely complicated (and a bit funny, as in funny ackward) it is. It really makes you appreciate the uncomplicated system on your street - one bin for trash, one bin for recycle, your trash comes 2x a week and is picked up with out fail no matter the size, shape, or color of your bag. Have I made you want to give your trash person a fruit basket of love and appreciation yet?? No?? Keep reading.

Wondering what brought this post on? I just witnessed a young girl buy her monthly ( I assume) trash bags, a total cost of Y8,800 (roughly $90.70). That is right, you have to drop a bill just to throw away your trash - and that was for a single lady. One of the only times I will be thankful for daunting city taxes was the moment I saw that transaction.

How do we deal with this? We separate and take our trash to base - in whatever bag we want, what ever day we want.


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  2. I read a book about garbage not long ago and it made me realize how much we support and encourage wastefulness with our municipal policies of trash disposal. We never have to worry about what we throw away.

    Tell me what happens to obsolete electronics. E-waste is becoming one of my pet issues.

  3. Ok reading this I think I should send my hubby over there to get a lesson in trash!! Craziness!! One time here in Houston we got a ticket becasue our trashcan was too heavy and they could not lift it. So.....I had to haul it back up the driveway and the next time they came I sat outside with tea and water and asked them to pretty please take it, they did! :)