My desire to ensure environmental sustainability.

Point blank on environmental issues.

Monday, 15 June 2015

Sorting garbage in Japan

When I was doing my undergraduate and studied waste management units, I never knew that one day, I will experience it in real life. I remember cramming (better still, mastering) the types of wastes; industrial, municipal and further divide them into organic, inorganic, hazardous, non-hazardous…a lot of Chemistry there! Yeah? I loved the theoretical part, when my professor could emphasize that all waste should sorted into respective categories for easy management; fact! Right? We (or at least I) have to agree that sorting garbage is quite a hectic undertaking, depending on where and/or how one was brought up. Although I used to sort garbage (sometimes), the Japanese experience was totally on another level, and I think you would like to hear about it. 

Notably, there are specific days of the week that various types of garbage are collected; that tells you that garbage is collected more than once a week (actually, I see the garbage trucks almost every day!). So, how frequent is waste collected in your place (or, is it even collected)?  Garbage sorting in Japan is such a serious activity that even a water bottle needs to be separated into three parts; 1) the bottle that is categorized as a PET (an abbreviation of along chemical name!), 2) the bottle top and 3) sticker that are categorized as plastic. I guess this it to avoid re-sorting at the waste management sites. Dispose the bottle on Monday () and please keep the plastics for Friday (). By the way, if you mix the garbage, be sure that it will not be collected! I remember in the first few days in my apartment, I could see “Please sort your garbage” stickers somewhere (please note: it wasn’t me!). You have to sit down, and figure out what kind of waste should go into what waste bag; the food remains/wastes and other burnable materials into the brown waste bag, plastics into the green waste bag and the process continues. This is just a level of it is own!

This practice kept me wondering if it is possible to get to such sophisticated a level, when we do not even have a clear waste collection and management chain. Right now, the priority may not be emphasizing on sorting different kinds of wastes, but I am sure if the implementation of existing laws is done, everything will fall into place. Off course, that notwithstanding, we, the people should realize that nature is all that we have, and we should collectively protect it. This means that I (you) should take care of own garbage; do not throw that water bottle on the roadside, keep those sweet/chipo/food wrappings and dispose them in the right place. That little discipline will go a long way to ensure a cleaner, safer and healthy environment for us in the present and the future lives.        

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