Garbage is a big deal in Japan. Since there’s not a lot of space for people, there’s definitely not a lot of space for their garbage.
First of all, good luck trying to find a place to throw anything away in public. Almost all public trash cans were done away with after the sarin gas attack in the Tokyo subway in 1995. You’re going to have to bring your trash home with you or find a convenience store.
|PET bottles/cans and plastic packaging|
Garbage is sorted into burnable, non-burnable, PET bottles and cans, plastic packaging, and group resource collection. Everything has to be in clear plastic bags (except burnables), not double-bagged, or wrapped with twine (group resource). And rinsed—wash all those bottles, tubes, and jars out! Confused yet?
Burnable – is incinerated, obviously. Food scraps, food soiled paper , tissues and such. I’ve been toying around with the idea of making a compost pile since burning everything just seems so wasteful.
Non-burnable – landfilled. Hard plastic, rubber, foil, etc.
PET bottles, cans, and glass – recycled. PET bottles are labeled PETE in the U.S. And cans are, well, cans…in Japan they’re heavier so it makes you think you’re not done with your drink!
Plastic packaging – recycled. We usually have the most of this stuff, since the Japanese are crazy about over-packaging everything.
Group resource collection – recycled. Includes magazines, newspapers, milk cartons (rinsed and cut open so they’re flat). They have to be bound with twine or put in paper bags.
|Trash cage and net on our block|
You know sometimes how you think “Hmm, I don’t *really* want to wash out the peanut butter jar—I’ll just throw it away.” That’s not gonna fly in Japan. Last night I found myself cutting open tubes of glue and rinsing the insides before throwing it away!