My parents in America have a small refrigerator that they keep drinks in, like soda and juice.  That way, there is always a cold drink for guests.  Anyway, this small fridge broke down and my mom told me they bought another one.

I said, “How did you get rid of the old one?”

She said, “We just threw it out with the trash.”


Okay, I have been living in Japan and very, very long time, so I was amazed at this.  In Japan, you could never ever in a million years just throw a fridge (of any sort) out with the regular burnable trash.

Yes, that’s right.  We have burnable trash days (twice a week) and recycling days (twice a month.)  If the trash men find a soda bottle in with your burnables, they will NOT take it.  (The bags here in our city are clear.)

Each city in Japan has their own rules, but basically I think they are all pretty strict.  Japan is not a country with a seemingly unlimited amount of land like the U.S., so recycling here is taken very seriously.

As far as large items (like a fridge), you have to contact somebody to pick it up.  For example, as shown in the next photo:



I asked my husband and he said this service is free (at least here in Fukushima City.)

It’s a PITA though, which is one reason Japanese are sort of hesitant to purchase new large items, because they know they’ll have to get rid of the old one.  Some companies actually have services where if you buy their item (like a bed), they will take the old item and dispose of it for you.