Life in Japan. 4 – Trash Day  

Friday, 25 July 2008

The title to this posting is a little misleading; in Japan, every day is trash day. Today, for example, was “combustible, non-recyclable trash day”. Tomorrow is “recyclable plastics trash day”. Saturday is “non-combustible, non-recyclable trash day”. There is a collection every single day; each targeted on specific products. In short, the Japanese are really serious about recycling. More serious, in fact, than any nation on earth. Incongruous as it may seem in the concrete wasteland that is urban Tokyo, in the country that seems to eschew the natural world, the Japanese people actually care passionately about the environment. Perhaps it’s because there is so little green here; whatever oasis of nature does exist is so cherished and diligently cared for. In my travels around Inokashira Park, for example, I saw not one piece of litter. Not one. Interestingly, there are also no trash bins in the park – people take their trash home with them.

The downside of all this is the unbelievable complexity of sorting our rubbish into the various piles ready for collection on the appropriate day. Every day before 7.30 am, the man of the house has to gather all the trash bags and deposit them in the appropriate place. At least, that’s what I’ve been told. It could just be ruse to allow Big M another 30 minutes in bed in the morning.

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