In Japan, garbage is basically separated into burnable, non burnable and recyclable items. The exact definition of what is burnable, non burnable and recyclable depends on the area, with some regions stricter about separation and recycling than others. gi
Garbage collection days and hours also depend on the area you live in. Your landlord/rental agency will give you a copy of your town's sorting rules and pick-up days. Burnable garbage is usually collected on two or three days during the week, while non burnable garbage is usually collected once a week, alternating recyclables and plastics (プラ).
Below we've tried to give you a general guide to sorting and disposing of your garbage.
Garbage quick tips:
- Only place your garbage in your designated garbage area on the day it will be collected (if you try to leave your garbage out the night before it may be returned to you and left on your doorstep).
- Garbage must go in semi-transparent bags. Some areas (like Kaga) may have specific bags for you to use (yellow, blue, green or clear).
- Privacy rules regarding garbage don't apply. Your garbage bags may be opened and inspected, and if there is a problem with what you've put in there (non-burnables in a burnable bag) it may be returned to you.
- Large garbage requires pre-paid garbage tags you can buy in many places.
- Useful kanji: 毎週 = “every week”?回 = “? times” 毎月 = “every month”
- Read your area's Garbage regulations CAREFULLY! Failure to comply can result in a fine.
Burnable Garbage (燃やすゴミ)
- Kitchen waste/food scraps (please drain well first)
- Tissue paper
- Instant food containers
- Plastic trays for food
- Cooking oil containers
- Rubber gloves
- Toothpaste tubes
- Soft toys
- Wooden/plastic toys
- Cardboard (although cartons and boxes can often be recycled)
- Cassette tapes, video tapes
- Clothes and footwear
- Garden waste
- Floppy disks
- Unrecyclable waste paper
- Diapers (please dispose of the contents down the toilet)
- Ketchup containers, etc.
- Cellophane wrap
- Shampoo containers
Burnables quick tips:
- Styrofoam food trays The food trays you buy meat, fruit or sashimi in can be disposed of with other burnable items. However, if you would like to recycle them, rinse them and take them to most grocery stores.
Wash out aluminum cans for recycling. Sometimes pull tabs
(プル タブ) are collected separately.
|You don't have to separate aluminium and steel cans.|
Paper and Cardboard
|Separate into cardboard, newspapers and magazines. Bind with paper string.|
(or Paper Pack 紙パック)
|This is the wax-coated paper used for juice boxes and milk cartons. It may be collected as Recyclables in your area, or it may be accepted as Burnables. If your area doesn't recycle them and you would like to, many grocery stores have collection bins for them. Rinse, open them up, flatten, and deposit at your local store or neighborhood association.|
|Some areas will have a special day for collecting PURA, every two weeks. Everything with a PURA label should be kept in a separate garbage bag and deposited on this day. (Note: (as a former JET found out when his PURA bag was returned to his doorstep by the Garbage lady, even if it has a PURA label, if a container or plastic bag has silver foil on it, it counts as Burnable, NOT PURA.)|
|Separate bottles and jars into 3 kinds according to color. You can only put out bottles for food and drink. Bottles for cosmetics, insecticides or cooking oil and broken bottles should go in Non-burnable garbage. Plastic bottle caps go to Burnable garbage. Metal bottle caps go in Non-burnable garbage.|
|Plastic (PET) Bottles||Most plastic drinks bottles will have a PET label and should be recycled separately from other plastics. Empty and wash the bottle, remove the label (PURA) and cap (Burnable).|
Recycling quick tips:
- Different parts of packages are made of different materials. The main label will tell you which is which.
- Empty and wash cans, glass bottles, plastic bottles and paper packages before putting them out. Paper packages should also be dry.
- Recycling schedules can be very erratic, for example “PURA, PET and aluminum first and third Mondays, but glass only every 3rd Wednesday". Go over your recycling chart carefully with your supervisor.
- Chemical containers and aerosol containers cannot go into regular recycling.
- While all cities have slightly different rules, basic rules are the same. Kaga has a nice English site to give you an idea of what to expect: http://www.city.kaga.ishikawa.jp/eng/gomi/gomi.html
Non-burnable garbage may be collected along with Recyclables, although it may be collected less frequently (once a month).
The height, width and depth of Non-burnable waste collected by the City should add up to 1m or less and its weight should be no more than 30kg.
- Spray cans. For containers of hair styling mousse etc, finish up the contents and make a hole in spray cans. Don't do this close to fire. It's safe to do in water.
- Household paint containers.
- Lighter gas canisters.
- Cooking gas canisters.
- Insecticide containers.
- Fluorescent lights, thermometers. Wrap with paper or cardboard to prevent breakage.
- Glass - glasses, glass sheets, broken bottles or heatproof gas. If broken, wrap in newspaper.
- Frying pans, pots.
- Small home appliances. For radios, audio players, word processors, hair dryers, etc, take out the batteries and dispose of them separately.
Waste not collected by the City
The following will not be collected automatically by the City. You may have to call to arrange a pick-up time and pay a fee, or else take it along to you local Environmental Centre (incineration plant) where there will be a charge for disposal.
- Futons (quilts).
- Large branches (that do not fit into household garbage bags).
- Waste that exceeds the limit of 1m for height, width and depth added together, or 30kg weight.
- Waste from offices or shops.
- Dead animals.
- Animal excreta or similar substance.
Waste not disposed of by the City
The items listed below will not be accepted by the City at Enivronmental Centers. Take them back to the shops where you bought them.
- Motorbikes, agricultural machinery.
- Gas tanks.
- Paint thinners.
- Fire extinguishers.
- Kerosene, gasoline, oil.
- Personal computers.
- Washing machines.
- CRT-based televisions.
- Air conditioners (indoor units and outdoor compressors).