Trash Disposal
and Basic Rules



In Japan, there are rules for disposing of garbage.

Failure to follow the rules can lead to neighborhood conflicts and reduce the number of foreigner-friendly housing, so first learn the basic rules of garbage disposal and build harmonious relationships with your neighbors.

Segregation of Garbage

In Japan, most cities separate garbage into four types for disposal: Burnable garbage , Non-burnable garbage, recyclable garbage, and Oversized garbage.

Garbage Separation

Burnable garbage: Food scraps, paper scraps and other burnable trash

Non-burnable garbage: Items that produce toxic substances when burned, such as vinyl, glass and metals

Recyclable garbage: PET bottles, bottles, cans, clothes, etc.

Bulky trash: large Items such as refrigerators and sofas

The complication is that each city has different ways of classifying these four categories, so please check after you move to see how they are classified in the area where you live.

In most cases, there is a piece of paper posted at the dump site that tells you how to classify your garbage.

About Recyclable garbage

Recyclable garbage must be further divided into smaller pieces and thrown after being sorted into recyclable garbage.

For example, in Shinjuku City, Tokyo, garbage is divided into "bottles," "cans," "PET bottles" and "spray cans," so when disposing of recyclable garbage, do not put them in a single bag but separate them into these categories.

In some condominiums and apartments, baskets are provided to make it easier to sort trash.

About oversized garbage disposal fee

Bulky trash includes large items such as furniture and bicycles.

However, among home appliances, due to the "Home Appliance Recycling Law," home appliances such as air conditioners, televisions, refrigerators, and washing machines are not collected by the local government, and you must pay a recycling fee of around 1,000-6,000 yen to have them collected at the store where you purchased them, or take them yourself to a "designated pick-up location" in your area.

Fixed schedule for Garbage Collection

The days of the week on which you are allowed to put out burnable garbage, non-burnable garbage, and recyclable garbage are also fixed.

You will be told about this when you move in, or it is often written on the garbage disposal site, so be sure to check before disposing of your garbage.

Some cities designate garbage bags

When disposing of burnable trash, use trash bags sold at convenience stores or supermarkets.

However, in some areas, there are cities that do not designate garbage bags.

For example, in the 23 wards of Tokyo, there are no designated garbage bags, but there is a requirement to use plastic bags with visible contents (transparent or semi-transparent bags that cannot be easily torn). (Garbage bags from convenience stores and supermarkets are also acceptable.)

When buying garbage bags, 45-liter size bags are generally available. In areas with designated garbage bags, garbage will not be collected unless you use those bags, so be sure to use the designated garbage bags for garbage disposal, although it may cost a little more money.

Where do you put out the trash?

The place to put out the garbage also depends on the area and the apartment you live in.

Garbage disposal locations / Dumpsters located in condominiums and apartments ・Dumpsters located on the side of the road (a house or areas with small populations) If you dump your garbage in a place that is not a dumpster, crows and other animals may scatter the garbage, making it dirty and smelling bad, so be sure to check where you are going to put out your garbage. Make sure you know where you are going to put out your garbage.

Then, in some cases, such as in a house, you can put your garbage out in front of your own house and the garbage collector will pick it up one by one.

Days of the week when garbage can be taken out

The days of the week when garbage can be taken out are determined by the city.

For example, Burnable garbage is disposed of on Wednesdays, Non-burnable garbage on Fridays, etc. Check when these days are in your area.

In some cases, such as condominiums, you may be able to throw out your garbage anytime if there is a garbage disposal area in the condominium and a caretaker is present.

By the way, you must contact the bulky garbage collection center in advance to determine the day to dispose of your bulky garbage, so you must always dispose of your bulky garbage on the designated day.

Time to put out garbage

It is recommended that you put out your garbage until around 8:00 AM.

This is because garbage collection schedule is fixed, and putting it out earlier will cause garbage scattering and inconvenience to neighbors, so please put it out in the morning of the day you can put out your garbage with ease.


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