Living in Japan, I've gotten used to the idea of separating my garbage: in my neighborhood here in Mitaka, I've gotten used to the schedule for the last, oh, five years or so: Monday is non-burnable garbage, Tuesday and Friday are burnable garbage, and every other Monday is recyclables. It took some getting used to, but it became engrained to the point where, when I visited my friends in the United States, I was looking for the separate burnable and non-burnable garbage cans before throwing something away and having to pause to remember when I didn't find them.
But this month, the city of Mitaka has decided to drive me crazy. OK, that's not their intent but it's their effect. I got the notice about it back in September, but I'd forgotten about it until the new signs went up in my neighborhood (see the picture to the right).
Here's the new garbage schedule:
Monday - plastic items and hazardous garbage (dead batteries and light bulbs for example)
Tuesday - burnable garbage, essentially kitchen scraps and yard waste
Wednesday - non-burnable garbage, which they seem to define as large items which can't be burned, including shoes, toys, and other large items.
Thursday - four separate categories for today:
- Waste paper: newspapers, regular paper, magazines, and cardboard; all bundled, of course
- Old clothes and blankets
- Plastic (PET) bottles - first and third weeks of the month
- Cans and glass bottles - second and fourth weeks of the month
Friday - burnable garbage again
I believe in environmental protection as much as any squishy liberal, but this is getting faintly ridiculous.