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Libellule
May 6th, 2014, 11:05
So, garbage disposal in Japan sounds more complicated than throwing it in some bags and putting it on the street... how does it work exactly? I tend to be ruthless with the amount of stuff I keep, so if my pred is a packrat I will likely want to throw a bunch of stuff out.

coop52
May 6th, 2014, 11:20
It depends on your area. My city has special bags for plastics and burnables and little bins for white styrofoam trays, cans, and non-burnables. Plastic bottles have to go in clear bags. You can only through certain things out on certain days, which may be only one day a month for things like cardboard and newspapers. You have to pay to throw away big stuff like furniture. Some places are fairly strict, with rules like making you write your name and address on your bags, while some places don't really care as long as it's in a bag.

spman2099
May 6th, 2014, 19:39
It depends on your area. My city has special bags for plastics and burnables and little bins for white styrofoam trays, cans, and non-burnables. Plastic bottles have to go in clear bags. You can only through certain things out on certain days, which may be only one day a month for things like cardboard and newspapers. You have to pay to throw away big stuff like furniture. Some places are fairly strict, with rules like making you write your name and address on your bags, while some places don't really care as long as it's in a bag.

That isn't too far from the system we have in my city (in Canada). We have a "green" garbage (food compost, soiled paper, coffee grounds), "blue" garbage (recyclables like paper, plastic, and aluminum cans), and "clear" (non-recyclable and non-compostable items like diapers and styrofoam). The green and blue garbage containers are collected weekly, but the clear garbage is only collected once every two weeks. Everything else you have to drive to the dump.

johnny
May 6th, 2014, 20:14
In my city we have:

White bags: Burnables.

Yellow bags: Soft plastics (e.g. plastic bags, bento containers).

Blue bags: Hard plastics (e.g. old CDs your pred left, pop bottle tops, old tupperware your pred left).

Red bags: Glass and ceramics.

Green bags: PET bottles on one day and "Bin" on the other days.

Antonath
May 6th, 2014, 21:35
My city has:

Burnable twice a week.
Non-burnable once a month.
Plastic bottles twice a month.
Cardboard and newspapers once a month.
Larger items whenever the guy with the kei-truck feels like doing the rounds.

There are a few other categories, but since 90% of people in my area can only be bothered with the first two, I've never investigated further.

Shincantsen
May 6th, 2014, 23:03
Trash is complicated and can be frustrating (I had friends who had no pickup for any trash besides burnable/nonburnable, they would have to bike the other stuff to a recycling center a few miles away). I knew a few people who didn't follow the rules at all and just threw everything away together. It worked for one of them, but the other one, an old lady went through the trash, found her address on something in there, called her supervisor at the BoE, he came, picked up the trash, dropped it off at her doorstep, and scolded her.

So deal with trash at your own risk.

Libellule
May 6th, 2014, 23:37
Thanks everyone for the great info! It will certainly be an adjustment for me because where I'm from in Canada, garbage is black bags and recyclables are blue, and if you don't feel like recycling the garbage plant sorts through it anyways and picks out recyclables.

spman2099
May 7th, 2014, 00:04
Trash is complicated and can be frustrating (I had friends who had no pickup for any trash besides burnable/nonburnable, they would have to bike the other stuff to a recycling center a few miles away). I knew a few people who didn't follow the rules at all and just threw everything away together. It worked for one of them, but the other one, an old lady went through the trash, found her address on something in there, called her supervisor at the BoE, he came, picked up the trash, dropped it off at her doorstep, and scolded her.

So deal with trash at your own risk.

That is AMAZING! I hope she felt like a pile of shit.

In our city the garbage trucks that pickup our garbage have cameras on them; so they record the contents of the trash being tossed into the dumpster. You may not be discovered if you mingle all your trash, but if you are you will be fined by the city.

webstaa
May 7th, 2014, 08:20
In my town we have:
Clear bag with red printing: Burnables.
Clear bag with blue printing: Plastics or Papers (must mark on bag)
Bins for cans/bottles of each color/ pet bottles.
I honestly have no idea what to do with non-burnables. They had bags, but stopped using them last fall. I still have one left, but it isn't even half full.

Here's a strange question: what does you town say to do with aluminum foil?

johnny
May 7th, 2014, 08:22
My town has a metal refuse day either once a month or once every two weeks. It is actually a third use for green bags.


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Antonath
May 7th, 2014, 08:44
...an old lady went through the trash...
It should be noted that this is the sole purpose of old ladies in Japan.

webstaa
May 7th, 2014, 09:47
It should be noted that this is the sole purpose of old ladies in Japan.

If they aren't taking bus tours, what else would they do?

Page
May 7th, 2014, 10:18
Webstaa--my town, allegedly, has a bag for aluminum foil but my MIL says we just put it in with the burnables so I follow her lead (she used to work on a trash pick-up line).

It's not too bad but there is quite the learning curve when you first get here (especially if you want to throw out half the junk left over in your place).

word
May 7th, 2014, 11:09
Yeah, once you get used to it, it's really not bad.

MG is terrible about trying to throw everything into the burnable bags. I'm pretty anal about properly sorted garbage so I do what I can, but I often find myself hoping that nobody goes through my garbage. I recommend using tape to close your burnable bags, rather than ties (makes it more difficult to open and re-close them) and to top each bag with something disgusting (compost, spoiled food, cat sh*t, vomit, your own sh*t, whatever) so as to deter potential busybodies.

My new town has a much easier system than my old town; they're pretty forgiving here, and they have a "landfill" bag into which you can pretty much put anything, which is nice.

uthinkimlost?
May 7th, 2014, 11:32
When you first arrive, be SUPER careful about what goes into the burnables. You can't leave it on the street if it is rejected and August and the tanuki won't be kind to the bag if you leave it outside. (or inside, for that matter)

-and they can and WILL reject it in some places. (ie my inaka)

therealwindycity
May 7th, 2014, 11:40
In my town they collect "compostable" garbage three times a week, which is nice because I don't have to have the smelly stuff sitting around growing mold.

Kdes23
May 7th, 2014, 14:05
That is AMAZING! I hope she felt like a pile of shit.

In our city the garbage trucks that pickup our garbage have cameras on them; so they record the contents of the trash being tossed into the dumpster. You may not be discovered if you mingle all your trash, but if you are you will be fined by the city.

It's actually pretty similar to what we have in Canada. Prior to moving here, people were telling me about how complicated and tedious it is to take care of your garbage. They hyped it up for more than it was worth to me.

I think it might be a little different from location to location, but generally you have 1) burnables, 2) cardboard/paper, 3) cans, 4) bottles, 5) other.
Where I live, if you have something like a big desk to throw out, you have to go to the combini and buy a sticker, and slap it onto the desk. This shows that you paid (via the sticker) to have the desk trashed.

Burnables is 3 times a week (tuesday, thursday, and saturday), the others are once a week.

It's really not as big of a deal as people make it out to be. Unless you're a lazy slob.

Teishou
May 7th, 2014, 14:54
I dunno what my town's rules are. My housing area has a place where you can dump whatever you need to at any point, and the garbage collectors will pick out the necessary things for that day.

Gizmotech
May 7th, 2014, 15:44
I love my prefectual apartment. They take anything without question pretty much.

I also haven't sorted rubbish since my fourth month here, and that was only because I had consumed quite a few beer cans at the time. As far as I'm concerned, with enough heat everything melts, and Japan is an incineration country :)

Jiggit
May 7th, 2014, 15:46
Why don't you just marry your town's garbage disposal practices if you love them so much?

soh
May 7th, 2014, 16:04
In my town we have 3 categories. Each category is collected once a week.

- Burnable garbage - food scraps, tissue, disposable chopsticks, toothpicks, cotton swabs and small pieces of paper (in case there's confidential information)

- Recyclables
*Paper garbage - paper packaging, any paper material with the 紙 label
*Plastic garbage - food packaging, shopping bags, plastic wrap, with the プラ label
*Milk and juice cartons with the 紙パックlabel, cut, wash, dry and bundle
*Metal cans - from canned food, coffee, beer etc.
*Pet bottles (without the plastic tag and cap) and glass bottles
*Magazines and books
*Cardboard

- General garbage - aluminum foil, old clothes, dish sponges, broken dishes and other things that don't belong...

There's a poster with the day of collection and what kind of garbage goes in which bag on my wall. There's also a more detailed book that lists a lot of things.

word
May 7th, 2014, 16:11
My old village did lightbulbs and batteries once a year. Good times.

Shincantsen
May 8th, 2014, 00:03
It should be noted that this is the sole purpose of old ladies in Japan.

They're also an important part of the local "pushing you out of the way at the train station" ecosystem.

zombiekelly
May 8th, 2014, 03:01
My town was a little different, we had large trash once a month and you didn't have to pay extra so long as it wasn't a TV/PC or aircon. Burnable was twice a week, with bottles, cans, and non-burn staggering the rest of the month. But since my place was a leopalace, garbage usually ended up separated into burnable and beer cans.

Kamirose
May 14th, 2014, 15:14
What I actually do is just throw out burnable, nonburnable, and cardboard normally, and the rest I take to the recycling bins at my grocery store.

What my city actually offers, though:
* Burnables: twice a week (we don't have separate plastic recycling, so that goes in with the burnables unless it's hard plastic, which is nonburnable)
* Nonburnables: Once a month
* Glass bottles/jars: Once every two weeks
* Cardboard: Once every two weeks
* Steel cans: Once every two weeks
* PET bottles: A mystery. We don't have a day for them on our trash schedule, but if you put them out they will mysteriously be taken away at some point.

teckset
June 2nd, 2014, 12:43
In short, your garbage/recycling guidelines will be different depending on where you live. Your best bet is to get a bunbetsuhyou (separation guidelines) sheet from your local town/city/whatever office and read through it. It should have information on what goes into what bag, what bags are available, and what has to be taken to Recycling Centers.

Ask someone (your Supervisor, your Predecessor, your Landlord) where you place your recycling.

Be aware that each place will have a different set of recycling bags and you will have to get them from your local grocery stores. I've heard some places require you to sign your recycle bags before you set them out, but that's not the case where I live, so YMMV.

Old ladies are a good resource on how to sort tricky items. Good luck and hopefully you'll never get one of those annoying "You did it wrong, idiot!" stickers on your returned recycling bag.

Lianwen
June 2nd, 2014, 12:56
You might not even have a recycling bag, but a bin. Old thread is older, but, I'm throwing this out there. My area, cans and bottles are sorted into blue egg crates and left out at the same corner where other trash is thrown, once a month. It goes out in the morning, the guys come, empty them into their truck, and leave them there and then you collect yours at the end of the day. No one really labels theirs, so you can take any which one. It's nice, because a lot of vending machines in the area have a crate next to them and people leave theirs outside.

coop52
June 2nd, 2014, 13:47
My city also is supposed to use crates, but my apartment building doesn't have them. I just shove everything that isn't burnable or plastic into separate plastic bags and chuck it in the garbage holder.

I've also never seen garbage being sent back for being wrong. My area could just be really chill about it though.

tealparadise
June 3rd, 2014, 09:19
My area is really chill because there's a conveniently placed forest surrounding us. So if they weren't relaxed about it..... people would just dump in the woods. It's still quite the problem.

I don't see anyone mentioning what I find to be the REAL problem, so I'll skip telling you what all my pickups are and get to the meat of it.


You can put out trash from 7-8AM. It is picked up at 8AM on the dot.

You need to leave for work before 7AM? Fuck you. Why don't you have a housewife to put out your garbage?

You didn't realize "big garbage" day was coming? Fuck you, you had to pre-pay by last Wednesday. NO you can't just put it out day-of! What do you think we are, animals? Wait until next November.

You want to just take it to the dump? Dump's open from 8 to 4:30. You work until 5? Fuck you.


(at the burnables dump) "This is non-burnable."
(at the non-burnables dump) "This is burnable."

GAAAHHHHHHH.


My hometown didn't even recycle. We just shipped all our trash to China. I'm not even kidding.


When I get back, I'm going to send vids to all my friends of me throwing out broken glass, food scraps, plastic bottles, and styrofoam trays, into the same bag, at 6pm.

Jiggit
June 3rd, 2014, 09:23
Aye, there's the rub.

For me it's only being able to do recyclables on monday morning...

zombiekelly
June 4th, 2014, 02:04
That's one of the few advantages of living in a leopalace- there usually isn't anyone to catch you breaking da rules.

johnny
June 4th, 2014, 08:24
It seems like my city is better than most. Burnables go out twice a week and soft plastics once a week. Hard plastics, pet bottles, cans and glass go out twice a month.

Electronics, large burnables and other stuff goes out once a month.

Page
June 4th, 2014, 12:35
Once you find out your city you should be able to go to your city website and find information about trash removal (after searching an hour on their poorly organized POS website). Hope you read Japanese though because lol English and it's probably a file that you can't quickly google translate.

Ini
June 4th, 2014, 12:43
cities normally have the information available in english if you go to the city hall and ask around. In towns and villages you are probably on your own and will have to translate the japanese version.

word
June 4th, 2014, 12:47
My city isn't really all that big and it has trash schedules and guides available in English, Portuguese, Chinese, and Korean. They're not advertised and most Japanese people don't even know about them, but it might be worth asking about it at your town hall.

Edit: derp; too slow. What Ini said. My inaka village had nothing but Japanese docs.

coop52
June 4th, 2014, 22:58
My BOE supervisor was smart and had trash charts waiting for us when we got here, along with a couple of each kind of the special trash bags.

Shincantsen
June 4th, 2014, 23:14
If your city only has glass recycling once a month, like mine did, you can look forward to feeling like an alcoholic in front of all the neighborhood old ladies.