☆ i heart japan,  ☆ life,  ☆ photos

How Japan does trash

I said, the day before yesterday, that I was going to take pictures of those little stickers that the garbage people put onto your bag o’ trash if you don’t follow the rules, right? Well, try as I might, when I went out looking for trash that the garbage men had left behind, I couldn’t find any near me! I suppose that my neighbors were all good citizens this last half of the fourth week of May.

I needed to walk to the grocery store today, so I took my camera in the hopes of finding a delinquent bag of trash, and I was rewarded!

Want to see?

I’m not going to make it that easy! First, here is a sign posted as a trash collection point. It tells you the days of the week that certain trash is picked up. You must, must, MUST separate it. Or you’re evil, I guess. I’ve been evil a few times, I’m fairly sure.

You put your bag of trash underneath a new like this. All of the trash collection points are along the streets, and most of them are just nets like this which are tied to trees, lamp posts, fences, or anything. In some places, it’s acceptable for a home to put it directly in front, and in some places there are collection alcoves/hollows/cubes/baskets. I have to walk half a block and use this net.

This is trash that was delinquent in that it was put out on the wrong day (obviously cans and bottles), but the trash people must have ran out of stickers in my area. 🙁

Something is stuck in this net. I don’t like touching these nets, because obviously, they touch a lot of really awful trash! Possible animals go to the bathroom on them, also. Certainly, the crows that I’ve seen picking open bags do. I wonder who cleans that up. I don’t ever want it to be my job, unless I’m in one of those situations where I put out the trash right in front of my door, and it’s only mine.. Actually, I don’t want to do it then, either. >.>;;

This net is blue!

Another sign. This is just a block from me, but the rules are pretty much the same. In this case, burnable and non-burnable garbage, aerosol cans, and electronic parts must be put out on Tuesday&Saturdays, Plastic on Mondays, tin cans, small metals, and plastic pet bottles must be put out on Wednesdays, and you must arrange for anything else, like large items.

In fact, most large items cost a LOT to dispose of, and to do it, you have to pay a (usually large) fee to a convenience store. In return, you receive a sticker. From there, you have to call the city disposal center or use their online service to make an appointment for the trucks to come and pick it up. It’s a hassle and costs a lot, so whenever possible, I try to break up large useless items into pieces small enough to be able to throw them away for free.

Like once, a while back, I had an old computer tower that had died. It had died pretty much forever ago, and was sitting in my closed. So I dismantled it and used my giant wire cutters to cut it in small pieces and wrap it in paper (since it’s dangerous, don’t want anyone to get cut!) and throw it away. Mwahaha, I love cheating stupid systems!

I say that the trash system is stupid, because I think it is. If I forget something, I have to wait a week to put it out, and by then a lot of garbage becomes pretty smelly. I can’t help it– I made myself a chart and stuck it to the inside of my front door, but I still forget to take out the trash ALL of the time. Also, burnable and non-burnable trash (basically everything besides recyclables) is accepted on the same day. So……. this means, what? I’m not sure how the trash people tell. Do they open every single bag to see if it is burnable or non-burnable at the plant (most people use vinyl shopping bags, including me)? They must, because it’s just all thrown together into the trucks as far as I’ve seen.

And since they aren’t checking it, how in the world do they determine what isn’t making the grade. How do they know what to put a sticker on? Better than that, why put stickers? I mean, technically, even if you’re being lazy about recycling, anything that’s not burnable, is, well… non-burnable garbage, right?

Wrong, I guess. Here is that sticker I promised you! I found it near the discount bulk supermarket that I love because it’s cheap, and cheap is awesome. 🙂

According to the sticker, that person put a bag containing recyclable materials out, and that’s bad. I understand, it’s bad for the environment.

But it’s a trash bag. Once it’s been outside for an hour, it’s sure to have creepy-crawlies in it. I wouldn’t touch it, even if it was my own.

But someone does. Because sometimes these bags lay around for weeks, but they eventually disappear. What happens to them, no one knows!

Do you have any stories related to the trash collection in your part of the world? I’ve heard horror stories from other non-japanese living in Japan who have their trash picked through by their neighbors, who will set it back on your doorstep if it’s not perfectly separated! They’re not looking for your credit card receipts!

That’s never happened to me, but when I first moved to Japan I lived in a company apartment. I guess the tenants of the building assumed that every time something was wrong with a bag of trash it was our faults. We got complaint after complaint, even when we didn’t put out any trash! Unfortunately, it seems like a common thing among Japanese people and “foreigners,” although to be fair it’s probably not any better anywhere! It’s all in the past, anyways! Now, I throw away my trash a block away, and there’s no way to know where it came from… I don’t think ;D

Tell me your trash(y) stories! *^o^*

(552 geeks have read this)

Hi! This is Jamie Lynn Lano! I am a Washington State (USA) native who: ☆ Holds a Bachelors of the Arts in Media Arts & Animation from AiPx. ☆ Worked as an assistant mangaka in Japan for Konomi Takeshi on The Prince of Tennis. ☆ Was an essay columnist for Asahi Weekly from 2008-2013. ☆ Was the star of Asahi Pop'n Press on Asahi TV (Japan) from 2009-2013 ☆ Was a write for Metropolis magazine in 2010. ☆ Has kept a blog foreeeeeeeeever! First and Current blogs.

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