This post comes about two years too late, but I suppose that it is still worth mentioning since it is very different to the way things are done back home. All across Japan, people are required to sort their garbage into any number of different categories. They can be subdivided down to such things as bottles, plastic, glass, electronics, batteries, fabrics, food waste, and burnable paper, though some municipalities are far more strict than others. Different types of refuse are collected every weekday, and if the incorrect garbage is put to the curb it wont be accepted. I only took a couple weeks to master the pickup schedule, but we also receive a calendar on a monthly basis. Also, since they don’t use trash cans of any sort, ‘taking out the trash’ requires no further effort once its gone. To haul bins every day would be pretty obnoxious.
While this may sound like a chore, after only a month or so it feels totally normal and makes me wonder why other developed nations can’t get on board. Not every type of trash is the same, and can’t be disposed of or recycled in the same way. These are the three trashcans in my house, one for burnables, one for plastics, and another for cans & plastic/glass bottles.
Again, while some people would declare this an unnecessary process, I am quick to boast that trash collection in Japan is virtually free. The burnable garbage requires the use of a standard bag from the city that cost me about 12 cents each. Extrapolated across a month, my garbage bill is not more than a single dollar. The only other place where people have to pay is for the disposal of larger items, like televisions and furniture. This requires the purchase of a special tag and can cost about 50 dollars, though I’ve not yet had to do this. If imposed by other governments, I suppose that some people would consider it a ‘socialist encroachment on personal liberties’ but having to pay extra (or at all) to recycle makes no sense to me either.