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City in Saitama Prefecture to require multilingual trash rules posted for foreigners

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Most rules are OK but a few are mind boggling. Why are my polypropylene and metal ski boots considered "burnable," for example? Burning those would create a toxic and hard lumpy mess. I assume that in the old days, shoes were made of leather or canvas, even wood in Japan's case. Maybe the authorities should first update and rationalize some of their crazy rules.

I also find the attitude of the garbage collectors "confusing." Every second Thursday , there is a pick up for "unburnable" trash. I put out a frying pan shortly before 8 a.m. when collection begins. They left it. One of the illustrations of examples of burnable trash is....a frying pan. How often do these kind of things happen and the Japanese blame foreigners for "not understanding"?

32 ( +42 / -10 )

That took a long time.

3 ( +11 / -8 )

No wonder people fly tip. Making a simple task 10 times more complicated is what this country does best.

-5 ( +18 / -23 )

The idea of the bumbling foreigner who doesn’t speak a word of Japanese and doesn’t follow the rules is a persistent one in Japan. During my time here however, I’ve witnessed Japanese people throwing litter from car windows and into rivers, getting into onsens without first having a shower, making excessive noise at the gym and fly tipping. Yes, this is anecdotal evidence, but the media doesn’t do much to dispel the idea that it’s always a foreigner.

-8 ( +30 / -38 )

Good because the rules can be confusing. My small neighborhood in Kansai, is 100% Japanese people, minus me, yet often someone has to clean up around the garbage bag disposal area because a person was perhaps too busy and/or too important to properly secure the garbage bag they threw onto the pile. There have long been signs written in Japanese along with pictures advising people. And some people ignore the rules on what to throw away on what day and just dump whatever they want to whenever they want to. It's not always just us foreigners who don't follow rules.

On a recycle aside, have any of the governments issued reports on what is ultimately done with the glass, cans and plastics we put out for recycle?

29 ( +36 / -7 )

In 2024...

-7 ( +8 / -15 )

In Osaka you are supposed to rinse the little soy sauce sachets after use....

Aint gonna happen.

Agree most of the trash on beaches etc. comes from native Japanese people....and the stuff they leave behind after a day at the beach !

Chairs, inflatables, plastic food containers ....I used to it clean up...but I gave up....zero assistance from the vacationers.

Surfing beaches attract a slightly more environmental crowd.....but it's still "out of sight is out of mind "

8 ( +21 / -13 )

This poster is itself confusing , too many languages on it, and no details on the garbage type by category

4 ( +8 / -4 )

Part of the problem is that the Japanese are still using way too much plastic.

There are times when I buy a few items at my local store and I always refuse a bag but I am always asked again.

Instead of throwing out so much waste the Japanese have to cut down on producing.

When will that happen?

7 ( +13 / -6 )

Other municipalities already done it with English, not necessarily with multiple language but that enough.

6 ( +8 / -2 )

I also find the attitude of the garbage collectors "confusing." Every second Thursday , there is a pick up for "unburnable" trash. I put out a frying pan shortly before 8 a.m. when collection begins. They left it. One of the illustrations of examples of burnable trash is....a frying pan. How often do these kind of things happen and the Japanese blame foreigners for "not understanding"?

I came to say a similar thing. Often our trash collectors will randomly leave an item (not only those left by me) that has seemingly been discarded in the appropriate manner; correct day, correctly tied etc. I give them the benefit of the doubt in that it may be a gap in my own knowledge - some obscure rule I'm unaware of. In those cases, what would be helpful is if they attached some kind of sticker to it explaining the reason it wasn't picked up. Possibly impractical and costly, I know.

But what sometimes happens is that the person who discarded the item will simply bury it in their burnable trash and get rid of it that way. Not me, of course.

16 ( +19 / -3 )

Most rules are OK but a few are mind boggling. 

Understatement of the year.

The idea of the bumbling foreigner who doesn’t speak a word of Japanese and doesn’t follow the rules is a persistent one in Japan.

Absolutely.

During my time here however, I’ve witnessed Japanese people throwing litter from car windows and into rivers, getting into onsens without first having a shower, making excessive noise at the gym and fly tipping.

And that is exactly why they have the above stereotype. It makes them feel better about themselves.

Yes, this is anecdotal evidence, but the media doesn’t do much to dispel the idea that it’s always a foreigner.

The media chooses to embrace those stereotypes of us. Ignorance is bliss.

-14 ( +16 / -30 )

^Although I'm extremely grateful for the job they do; rain, snow, freezing temps, they're out there doing it. Thanks, people.

15 ( +16 / -1 )

Nice and smart!

8 ( +10 / -2 )

They need them in Japanese also. My Japanese neighbors put their Tuesday pickup rubbish out in Sundays. How do I know, they don’t even remove the address stickers off their boxes.

-6 ( +8 / -14 )

this will go well with my 25 page manual on how to flush my toilet.

-3 ( +9 / -12 )

Do you think by making this the top story of the day they're trying to tell us something? I'm not sure that a prefecture deciding to translate its rubbish disposal rules is quite national, headline news.

I lived in an apartment where as the foreigner I was routinely blamed for other resdent's carelessness or mistakes.

But I'm sure even the most diligent of rubbish-thrower-outers have fallen a cropper of Japan's overly complex and draconian disposal rules.

3 ( +9 / -6 )

In our location, we have no garbage collection problems. We have large metal cages with sliding doors. They have webcams although I'm not sure anyone is watching. General domestic garbage twice a week. Selected garbage one day each week for different items. Once a month large items are collected without charge. In the district, we take turns to sweep and wash the collection cage.

8 ( +12 / -4 )

The good old trash rules. I remember first moving to Oita in 1993 and finding some old lady waiting at the trash bin to pick through everyone’s trash. Say goodbye to privacy.

2 ( +6 / -4 )

Hats off to my neighbors in their 90's that try to ensure the nets are in place early in the morning.

4 ( +4 / -0 )

Butter Late than never, it's only 2024!!

-3 ( +3 / -6 )

What makes me want to cry sometimes is that when I am shopping at local supermarkets almost 90% of the packages lettered and covered with all kinds of info. and CM and NOT A SINGLE ward of English.

So I pull my good old google translate camera trying to read the results are even more depressing , if fact my phone can't even read because of overlapping and mixing of words.

And the most depressing of all is that some of these packages have English written on them but it is so small you need a Magnifying Glass to read it and when you manage to read it's a CM or it means ABSULOTLY NOTHING.

0 ( +3 / -3 )

Sign of the times, massive record immigration under way in Japan today as it depopulates. Globalized connected world, soon 99% of GDP will be outside Japan, Japan's global economic weighting down approx. 8x since 1990.

-9 ( +0 / -9 )

They have webcams although I'm not sure anyone is watching.

The scene is obviously being recorded. If there is an incident, the authorities can then check at their convenience. Best to be on your best behaviour. No pilfering from the 粗大ごみ.!.

1 ( +4 / -3 )

Now foreigners will be able to feel good and included in their communities when they get the rules right. It's all about controlling people and having them follow mostly nonsense rules, like everything else here.

But it's pointless and stupid. And the sad thing is many people actually think they are helping it save the environment by taking part in this in this nonsense.

To Japan: catch up to many other forward thinking counties and outright ban plastic bags already, at the national lecel. And while you're at it, take the lead and also get rid of plastic wrapping, bottles and containers. Go back to glass and paper.

So much damned plastic here. It's criminal.

-4 ( +5 / -9 )

We also have very large metal containers for recycling cardboard, books, and mags. Those can be loaded 24/7.

0 ( +4 / -4 )

A city in Saitama Prefecture will require owners of new single-room apartment complexes to post basic garbage sorting and disposal rules in seven languages from April in a bid to help its increasingly multinational inhabitants avoid making mistakes that can cause conflict with their neighbors.

That's Japan. It's always the foreigners making the mistakes because it's just so muzukashii understanding how things are done. A lot of the "conflict" is just passive-aggressive people looking for any reason to complain about you because you are not one of them and they resent you being there. Make sure you let Japanese people know they need to follow the rules too. Mistakes are one thing. Willful ignorance and laziness are another and they are certainly guilty of those sometimes.

-6 ( +6 / -12 )

Stick to the rules of your host country whether you think them pointless or not.

2 ( +4 / -2 )

This is a positive thing. Hopefully, they will go further than just using Google Translate and have them proof read by native speakers of each language. Very often these kinds of instructions are just incomprehensible copy/pasted gibberish.

6 ( +6 / -0 )

Stick to the rules of your host country whether you think them pointless or not.

Or at least do your best. When they are very complicated or confusing it's easy to make mistakes. Japanese people make them also, going by the condition of some of the collection points along my commute.

5 ( +5 / -0 )

Sign of the times,

No, a rule sheet of the city's garbage collection.

massive record immigration under way in Japan today as it depopulates.

Because of the garbage collection rules?

Globalized connected world

A globalized connected world of garbage collection rules?

soon 99% of GDP will be outside Japan, Japan's global economic weighting down approx. 8x since 1990.

Because of the garbage collection rules?

5 ( +7 / -2 )

...that are well understood by the local population...

Not by my Japanese neighbours they are not. The Japanese people that live around me are forever putting out the rubbish incorrectly.

-2 ( +6 / -8 )

since when a citizen becomes recycling staff...

Get informed, comrade. Your own Paramount Leader™ commanded you to participate in waste handling, and in many Chinese cities sorting household waste is mandatory.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

your information is not based on any laws

It is in multiple cities, Beijing and Shanghai amongst them.

take care of my garbage if you do not mind...

I would have asked you to not be gross, but I have seen your children defecate on the street so I'm guessing that is out of the window anyway.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

City in Saitama Prefecture to require multilingual trash rules posted for foreigners

It won't make any difference. Even if you put the sign in their own language, they will ignore it.

-2 ( +1 / -3 )

We put our rubbish at the front of the house drive way. ゴミ収集車 picks it up with no problems. No sorting issues or sorting police problems at all. Sometimes the collection staff give us boxes of daikon. We are lucky that way

-1 ( +2 / -3 )

Globalized connected world

LOL, go tell that Europe.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

Regarding garbage, the best place that I lived was in Isogo, Yokohama, in the building complex that I lived there were only 2 giant garbage bins, one was for burnable trash, another for unburnable trash, so, was easy to separate the garbage - I do not know if the garbage collection was done by the city or was a private company.

Here in Komaki, Aichi, there is an app "threeR" that has a calendar and the type of trash that will be collected, it has an English version at least. But, it is not 100%, for example, which is the category of empty toothpaste tube? And many other doubts. A full list of all products sold in supermarket and the respective classification of trash would be very welcome. Google Translate can do the translation to any other language,

2 ( +2 / -0 )

This is a good thing. Well done Saitama.

quote: Go back to glass and paper.

Glass products are re/manufactured using furnaces requiring a great deal of energy. Glass bottles are heavier and smash easily. Getting glassed by one can be a death sentence. Japan uses too much wrapping, but plastic is being unfairly demonised.

When I stayed in Japan I used to tidy up the rubbish and recycling bins before it was collected. And then go and read online how dangerous, loud and messy us AirBnBers were.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

So making the announcements multilingual is insulting; writing them just in Japanese is discriminatory. What exactly is the local government supposed to do?

4 ( +5 / -1 )

I just moved out of a house I was renting in Saitama and had an enormous pile of burnable and non-burnable items that needed to be tossed away. Of course, the garbage (incineration) center isn't open on most weekends, so I had to put everything into plastic bags and take it all to the corner in the morning. 15 bags later it was all done, but the non-burnable things had to be taken to the curb on a special day. If it wasn't for my Japanese wife helping me, I'd have no clue what to do with all the garbage I had to get rid of.

Its not just foreigners though that have a difficult time understanding the garbage rules. I often find piles of trash beside the road when I'm jogging. Its often non-burnable items like old clay pots and porcelain wares (plates, mugs) that (lazy Japanese) people decide to just dump the old fashioned way.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Japanese people, including the old, often separate their garbage incorrectly. The rules are complex, and "correctly" can also include subjective decisions, like the ski boots example above.

If folks are doing their best most of the time, that's the most important thing. The unmentioned best practice is to not buy disposable, badly made, or overpackaged stuff in the first place. The most noble citizens don't produce much garbage. However, when trash is created, the ability to separate it according to sometimes stringent and kind of arbitrary rules should not be used as a stick to beat any particular section of the community, foreigners, the old, people from out of town, or whoever.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Sometimes the collection staff give us boxes of daikon.

From the back of a garbage truck. Yucky. Rotten. Probably from the restaurant down the street.

3 ( +4 / -1 )

I am always reminded of my second year living in japan, I know the rules when it comes to trash but one day I was woken up by an older man knocking on my door at 5am to tell me to go downstairs and clean the road because the crows had eaten someone's trash. I said it wasn't my trash because I know you aren't supposed to take I out till after 6. He wasn't having any of it and demanded that it was mine, I asked him why he thought it was mine and he said there was was a piece of paper with English written on it. A Japanese newspaper with a single word written in English. I told him to open his eyes and look beside me where my trash was and slammed the door in his face. My wife was annoyed too.

6 ( +6 / -0 )

 I was woken up by an older man knocking on my door at 5am to tell me to go downstairs and clean the road because the crows had eaten someone's trash.

I would never get out of bed at 5 am to answer the door to anyone. Just ignore it.

3 ( +5 / -2 )

Japan would be better off requiring fluency in Japanese; it would save money and promote assimilation of foreign workers. Diversity is a failed experiment that leads to social division and caste systems.

-10 ( +1 / -11 )

When we lived in Nagano City I took an old very large and heavy TV to the garbage point. Quite a few hundred meters. It was a struggle. The next morning when I woke it was back in our driveway. I got the wrong day. I took it in the dark evening. How did that spying person know it belonged to us? A mystery even to this day. As for the TV, it went to the recycling center.

2 ( +4 / -2 )

Danielsan

what are you on about? XD That is such a backwards way of thinking....

4 ( +4 / -0 )

I was woken up by an older man knocking on my door at 5am to tell me to go downstairs and clean the road because the crows had eaten someone's trash.

This is why I support having messages in English. Partially to inform foreigners, but also a signal to (lets face it) r@cist busybodies that yes, foreigners know what the rules are. Having messages posted English pre-empts the r@cist assumption that "foreigners can't know what the rules are".

3 ( +4 / -1 )

One time an elderly neighbour of ours tried to do some illegal dumping. An airfryer in the dead of night.l. he tried to abandon it at the rubbish point. The neighbourhood rubbish patrol knew who it was right way because he was the only foreigner in the area. He stopped receiving boxes of daikon and eggplant. Talk about profiling It wasn't really his fault though 粗大ゴミ should be easier to arrange for people with inferior Japanese language skills

-2 ( +4 / -6 )

The rules aren't really complicated. They're just inconsistent from place to place. One city I lived in had you separate all plastic from burnable. Whereas another city combined plastic used for food with burnable and plastic around regular products to be in the plastic trash.

Let's not forget the busy bodies who waited by the trash collection point to scrutinize every bit of my trash whilst overlooking trash by other Japanese.

5 ( +5 / -0 )

he was the only foreigner in the area

Wouldn't you be the other one?

7 ( +7 / -0 )

when i first in Japan, it takes me months to get used to the rules. but now i found it is one of the best garbage sorting system, greatly reduce the waste and good effort for environment.

2 ( +5 / -3 )

i found it is one of the best garbage sorting system,

I beg to differ. It's better than dumping everything in the woods at night, but it only barely clears that low bar. Actually sorting and recycling, let alone avoiding the ubiquituous three layers of plastic wrapping, takes quite a bit of personal effort.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

we don’t split rubbish in or apartments, everyone chucks it in the communal place. It gets picked up around 1am with the local businesses stuff.

-5 ( +0 / -5 )

we don’t split rubbish in or apartments

One of the benefits of assisted living, I suppose.

4 ( +4 / -0 )

Gasp! The horror!

Why not just have bins in sensible places?

-3 ( +0 / -3 )

anonymouse

Ah, that old conservative well-worn meme.

Studies show diverse teams outperform in areas like creativity, problem-solving, and decision-making. Exposure to different backgrounds fosters new ideas and perspectives.

You've never spent any significant stretch of time in Japan, have you.

The Japanese don't want diversity, they ARE deeply conservative and prefer things the way they are as a monocultural country. That's just the reality, and more power to them.

No amount of you pushing a diversity agenda is going to change that one little bit.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

This is why language requirements for residents is important. Anyone renewing their visa should be required to show a basic understanding of the local language or have their application revoked and be deported.

-3 ( +0 / -3 )

Good move! Put English on everything. Japan is going to make a lot of money that way.

The more international this country becomes, the more profit Japan stands to gain.

Remember, your trash is a money business as well.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

When I first arrived I thought the rubbish disposal system was complicated. However I couldn't read much Japanese and the other thing is I came from a place which was the complete opposite. There was very little separating, no way near to the extent of Japan. I think they should give new arrivals a bit of slack. It takes time to get used to the language. It's similar to a Japanese moving to an English speaking land and trying to understand all the rules written in English. Overall the rubbish disposal system is not really hard to understand, just very detailed! It takes alot of effort to prepare each types of rubbish and many foreigners and Japanese find it a hassle to do.

I've always wondered if there was a better way. How about 2 big bins. One for burnables and one for non-burnables and give employment to local people in doing the separation at the disposal area. People don't mind paying extra taxes to make life a bit easier. Large items like furniture are an exception. You can call a contractor to pick it up. What I don't like is paying for all those bags and paying to dispose of certain items. Just tax citizens a bit more so you have revenue to pay people to provide a rubbish disposal service. Too much onus is put on residents when it comes to putting out rubbish.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

We use plastic bags bought from the city. ¥10 each and for 25 kg general waste. Max is two bags twice a week. But we can also put garden rubbish as much as we want. Recycling items don't need plastic bags which are placed into bins put out on the day. The system is clean and works for us.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

What I don't like is paying for all those bags and paying to dispose of certain items. 

It's probably a bit of revenue for the local government. Having 2 big bins as you said is a better method and environmentally friendly. All those different kinds of plastic bags you have to buy is bad for the enviroment. The funny part is at supermarkets they're trying to encourage the reduction of plastic bags and charging if you need one while for rubbish disposal you need to buy a variety of bags to throw out thing such as metal items.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

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