How to Sort out Trash in Japan

Japanese society puts great importance on recycling. Basically every single item is categorized and carefully disposed of.

Please do not be the one to anger your usually friendly neighbours and the rubbish collectors by ignoring the rules!

Thankfully, some people have made it much easier for foreigners to successfully get it right!

You just need to download the app, 'ThreeR' (the three R's for reuse, reduce, recycle) and you will get all the information you need in plain English.

Since there are different days for each category (e.g. burnables, plastics, non-burnables, cans, plastic bottles, etc.) you can even set reminders on your phone, which is pretty neat.

It seems like a difficult thing, but it is actually easy to get used to. After a while, it will become second nature.

Here are a few extra tips:

  • Keep 2 trash cans (one for burnables, one for plastics) near you where you eat/study at home.

  • Keep a small plastic bag in your bag to take your trash home.

  • Get a set of drawers (available at home goods stores) and separate burnables (raw food, burnable items, tissue paper etc.); plastic bottles; cans (wash before throwing out); other plastics in your kitchen, so you can easily separate them while cooking/at home.

  • Keep a plastic bag in your bathroom for burnables.

  • Some items are sorted differently in each district, so please check the app or your city's website on specific information.

As you now live here, you too are responsible for Japan to continue being the beautiful country you love. Happy rubbish sorting!