When I first moved to Japan I found it hard to understand how to sort out garbage. (I used to call it rubbish, but no-one knew what I was talking about.) There were so many things that need separated. Burnable waste, non-burnable waste, PET bottles, glass bottles, cans, cartons, cardboard, paper, and white food trays. There is also a separate garbage collection for items that are bigger than the 45L bags that we are expected to use.
We’ve been renting in Tokyo for a while and lately have been thinking of buying. When we went to look at new houses I saw a yellow basket sitting outside one of them. I haven’t had to deal with communal recycling baskets since we moved to this apartment. I stared at it trying to remember if it was for cans or bottles… and then all the horrors of garbage came back to me. I have learnt how to separate garbage but I no longer have to worry about when it needs put outside. In our current apartment we have a garbage room. It’s an amazing place full of bins for all the different types of garbage. I no longer have to wait for the two days in a week when I can get rid of smelly food stuff from my apartment, and I don’t need to know which days are the right ones for different types of recycling, and I don’t need to store garbage in my apartment unless I’m too lazy to move it.
If I had a house I would have to learn the garbage cycle again. Every day I would be putting out a different type of garbage. I could end up responsible for washing out the baskets in the street, there would be crow nets, wild cats, and cleaning garbage off the street when a mess was made. I would end up cleaning other people’s garbage off the street as I’m sure just like the last place we lived that they would blame the foreigners every time a crow attacked or some other person put their garbage out too soon. I don’t actually mind helping out if there is garbage lying in the street as I love living in a clean city, but I disliked being blamed for this.
I did like the giant crows. They seemed to know the schedule better than me and would sit on the electric cables outside our home just waiting for something tasty to be taken out.
Maybe houses are a better buy, because of the associated land, but I would miss my garbage room.