NOTE: Previously these posts were copies of mass e-mails I’ve been sending out to the people back in the States (and elsewhere) to let them know of my life here in Japan. I’ve decided to write posts in addition to the e-mail posts.
Today I’d like to talk about garbage. Here in Japan they take the idea of recycling to a whole new level. I’m sure some of you have heard stories about how fanatic the Japanese are about their trash. When I was living in Saitama I was only aware of the main trash days, which were Monday and Thursday mornings. I would simply take my plastic bag out of the trashcan the night before and put it where Ayumi would see it the next morning. For PET bottles I had to remove the labels, wash out the bottle, throw the cap away and then put the bottle in a bag for Ayumi to take to the local grocery store. She would also wash styrofoam and take it to the grocery store.
Here in Machida it’s a whole other ballpark. You can’t throw your garbage away in any ol’ plastic bag (which was the case in Saitama), you have to buy special bags. Fortunately the bags are available almost anywhere. Unfortunately they aren’t free and they are color-coded. Yellow is for combustibles which are picked up every Monday and Thursday. Green bags are for non-combustibles and pick up is every other Saturday. Blue bags (which come in only one size and are about $25) are for non-spray cans, light bulbs and lighters and are picked up the 4th Friday of every month. Purple has no special bag and is newspaper, clothes books and cardboard; pickup is every Wednesday. Gray days are PET bottles, which are to be washed out, flattened and picked up every other Saturday when non-combustible is not picked up. Orange days are aluminum cans, non-spray cans, etc picked up the first, third and fifth (if applicable) Friday. And Pink bags are every kind of can including spray and batteries, picked up the second Friday of every month. It is against the law to put your trash out prior to the assigned days, which makes sense because otherwise things would pile up and become an eyesore, but still…
Though it seems ridiculous, I do appreciate their thoroughness. Still, for those of you that only have to worry about which week is normal trash and which is recycle week, count your blessings.