Recycling in Japan

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Recycling

Recycling

In Japan, recycling is serious business. While in the U.S we sort our trash into two categories, whether it's recyclable or not, the Japanese get much more specific when they sort their trash. In most Japanese homes, there will be two trash cans, one for "moerugomi" trash that burns and another for "moenaigomi" trash that does not burn. Burnable trash includes paper, cardboard, cloth, etc. Cardboards and larger objects are expected to be folded or cut into smaller pieces to take up less space. Nonburnable trash includes glass, plastic, plastic bottles, cans, etc. When throwing away plastic bottles, one must not only take off the cap but also take off the plastic label. Many Japanese also expect you to rinse the bottles before you take out the trash to the common area. In Japan, rather than each household taking out a garbage can once a week, there is a common trash area where people of that neighborhood and area will take their trash out to. When taking out the trash you must also be sure that you are using the right trash bags for each type of trash. The bags are marked burnable or nonburnable trash. In addition, certain types of trash are picked up on certain days of the week. Because you don't just take the trash out to your front yard but to a common place, it is very important that you take the correct type of trash out on the correct day since the garbage company will not pick up any bags marked with other categories.

Trash Bins

Trash Bins

Trash sorting takes place not only in homes but in public places and is also very specific. The trashcans are not only marked with burnable trash and nonburnable trash but there are usually trash bins specifically for cans, plastic bottles, glass bottles, etc. Some places such as convenience stores may have even more specific signs, specifying which bin to place the plastic bento box containers and where to dispose the used wooden chopsticks, which may all be different from where you throw away your daily newspaper.

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