When most people are asked what they think of Japanese cities, they usually say how clean they are. Cities in Japan are like most cities everywhere else and do come with their fair amounts of trash and uncleanliness. They do, however, do a better job keeping their cities cleaner than usual. This is mostly attained by societal norms, but there are other reasons for this too.
Where Are All the Bins?!
When you first arrive in Japan you will notice that there are almost no trash bins on the streets. You may find yourself walking with trash in your hands for a long while before you can find a receptacle. The trash bins are usually found in convenience stores. Some stores have them outside near the door, while others have them inside the store. Just look for one of the many konbinis as they are all over the country. There are a lot of recycling bins that are usually attached to vending machines. They take all plastic bottles and metal cans. This is not the same for vending machines that serve food.
Sorting Trash, Instructions Required
If you have done some research on Japan, you have most likely seen that they have a specific way to sort their trash. When you move into your apartment you will receive a schedule. Each day will have a different kind of pick-up. It will have a specific time as well so it’s best to do it the night before. There will also be a specified area for trash with some being nets held down with weights and others being in a sectioned off area of the apartment complex. Make sure to not do it too early or you may aggravate your new neighbors.
Different Trash, Different Day
Sorting trash can be a little difficult at first. There is a lot to take into consideration when grouping your trash correctly. First is burnable trash. This is actually an easy one to sort as it’s papers and small wrappers or boxes. Burnable trash is usually picked up twice a week in most areas as well. The days for pick up will be different for every area. Plastics are things used for food transport, item packaging, and anything that has the recycle symbol on its side. If you have a food container you must wash it out before putting it out. You can put all of these together in the same bag.
Organic waste should be in its own bag and sealed as best as you can. Plastic bottles, glass, and metals should all be separated as well. There is usually a sign that shows what should be put in the same bag. Clothing and small cooking items have their own day, as well as cardboard. There is no stringent sorting rule for those so just sort them by item. Appliances can be picked up, but they require you to make an appointment. There will also be a fee for pick-up so it’s best to do it in moderate amounts.
Try your best to separate everything properly as the residents will be watching the trash area. If you continually sort incorrectly, they can lodge a complaint with the landlord. It’s always a good idea to ask how to do it right, and most of the time someone will be willing to show you. Don’t worry too much over getting it perfect, just try to show you are trying to do it correctly.