The secret behind Japan’s clean environment.

It is often reported that one of the most challenging aspects for foreigners newly residing in Japan is the complex household garbage classification system. Due to unfamiliarity with the classification rules and the abundance of regulations, it can be particularly troublesome for foreigners to properly sort their garbage in Japan.

In Japan, garbage is typically divided into four main categories: combustible garbage, non-burnable garbage, large garbage, and bottles/cans.

Why is garbage sorting in Japan so complicated???

In Japan, it is a requirement for all residents, regardless of nationality, to follow the garbage classification guidelines provided by the city government. This ensures that everyone properly disposes of their waste. The reason why it can be seen as “particularly troublesome” is due to the nuanced nature of garbage classification in Japan, as well as the varying collection schedules.

The garbage classification system in Japan entails specific guidelines for sorting different types of waste. Each category has its own designated collection dates and methods. It is important to be aware of these guidelines to ensure proper disposal.

What is the Secret behind Japan clean environment?

In the 1960s, as Japan experienced rapid economic growth and industrialization, it faced significant environmental challenges. The detrimental effects of various industries led to environmental degradation, earning Japan the reputation of being a “public nuisance big country.” In response, the Japanese people recognized the importance of addressing these issues and embarked on a journey towards environmental protection.

1、By Law:

To promote the development of a circular economy, Congress in Japan passed a series of regulations. As a result, it is rare to find garbage bins and street cleaners on the roads. However, a dedicated group of monitoring teams ensures that illegally discarded garbage is returned to its owners. The law imposes strict penalties for improper garbage disposal, including imprisonment of up to five years and fines of up to 10 million Japanese Yen.

In Japan, the absence of public garbage bins necessitates individuals taking responsibility for their own waste. Japanese citizens have a range of garbage bins in their homes to accommodate different types of waste. For instance, lipstick containers can be separated into burnable and non-burnable components, with the substance inside being burned and the outer tube placed in either a plastic or small metal bin.

After events such as the World Cup, Japanese fans are mindful of not littering, as the consequences can result in receiving fines rather than collecting rubbish. The practice of taking garbage home is ingrained in the culture, reflecting the Japanese people’s commitment to maintaining cleanliness and adhering to proper waste management practices.

While the absence of public garbage bins may present challenges, the Japanese approach highlights the importance of individual responsibility and the principles of a circular economy, where waste is minimized, resources are conserved, and recycling is prioritized.

2、By Education

In 1970, Japan introduced the concept of “Public Security” into its Primary School Learning Guidance Outline. As part of this initiative, the importance of environmental protection was recognized, and it became a compulsory subject for Japanese students from elementary school to high school.

This decision reflected Japan’s commitment to instilling environmental consciousness and responsibility in its younger generation. By incorporating environmental education as a compulsory course, students are equipped with knowledge and awareness about the significance of protecting and preserving the environment.

3、By Crisis Awareness:

With a land area of 877,835 square kilometers, Japan is roughly one-fifth the size of Russia. Given its limited resources, Japan emphasizes the importance of adopting a reuse circulation for its waste management practices.

The scarcity of resources necessitates a focus on minimizing waste and maximizing the reuse of materials. Through a combination of recycling, resource recovery, and waste reduction initiatives, Japan strives to create a circular economy where materials are kept in use for as long as possible.

That’s right! Throwing garbage has to depend on days too!

In Japan, the garbage collection and recycling schedule varies from region to region. For instance, recycling paper might be designated for Tuesdays, recycling bottles and cans for Wednesdays, and non-burnable garbage for Fridays. Since garbage collection is managed by local governments, each region has its own set of rules and guidelines.

The specific items accepted for recycling and the corresponding rules can also differ between areas. For example, some regions may allow paper to be recycled together, while others require separate sorting. It is important to be aware of and follow the specific rules in your local area to ensure proper waste disposal.

If you are uncertain about the rules or simply discard your garbage without adhering to the guidelines, you may receive correction from your neighbors or inadvertently become a nuisance. Understanding and respecting the waste management practices in your community is essential to maintain a harmonious living environment and contribute to the overall cleanliness and sustainability of Japan.

Where is the recycled garbage going?

In Japan, there are specific destinations for different types of waste. Batteries and fluorescent bulbs are transported to the Hokkaido cycle, plastic bottles are transported to Okayama, and steel and aluminum items are transported to Hiroshima for recycling.

While it may be tempting for some individuals to disregard waste classification and disposal, it is crucial not to succumb to such thinking. In some Japanese communities, there are individuals who may inspect and examine other people’s garbage. If it is discovered that you have not properly classified your waste, you could face legal consequences.

To avoid becoming a subject of scrutiny within your community, it is essential to diligently classify your garbage according to the designated guidelines. By doing so, you contribute to maintaining a clean and environmentally responsible living environment.

Respecting and adhering to the waste management regulations in Japan not only ensures compliance with the law but also promotes a sense of collective responsibility towards creating a sustainable and harmonious society. Let us all strive to classify our garbage properly and contribute to the cleanliness and well-being of our communities.

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