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Cockroaches are Combustible, Right?

August 14, 2015

TrashIn the last two days I have easily spent more time talking about trash and how to properly dispose of it than I have in the last year.

It makes sense that a small island nation with a large population would have to be efficient with their waste removal, but coming from two types of trash, garbage and recyclable, to eight kinds is a bit much to take in all at once (at least it isn’t 44).

The garbage in our city is split into two categories as it is in most of Japan, Combustible and Non-combustible. This made perfect sense at the first pass until we started thinking about things as we threw them away. We started out thinking that Combustible meant things that people would normally burn in a fire, paper, small pieces of wood like popsicle sticks, witches, etc. We very quickly figured out that food waste fell into this category as well. It did take me a while to figure out that plastic scraps are also in the combustible category because it isn’t something I would normally burn. I finally figured out that I needed to change my way of thinking from, things-I-would-burn to things-that-will-burn. Combustible garbage goes out every Tuesday and Friday so we worked hard to figure this all out before tomorrow morning.

Non-combustible trash only goes out twice a month and is just things like metal, ceramics, and glass that won’t actually burn.

There are also several categories of recycling which all gets put out on the same day each week (mostly). You have to separate everything, which makes sense given the volume of materials they are picking up here in Tokyo, but it is an adjustment. Paper seems to be a grey area on the recycling vs burn spectrum. It will definitely burn, but you can also recycle a lot of paper items. Aluminum Cans, Glass bottles, plastic bottles marked PET (which stands for polyethylene terephthalate) but they are all separated out. The PET bottles have their own day twice a month. There are also a lot of things marked as プラ (Pura – short for purasuchikku or plastic) that is supposed to be recyclable plastic, but from all of our research it doesn’t look like our city is picking that up so it goes in with the burnables (I hope).

Other than research and talk about trash we did a few other things today. Most of the family hung around the apartment while I went in to Kira’s school and used their WiFi to put in a day of work. I’m not going to lie Marge, I enjoyed the solitude and also enjoyed working on something for eight hours that made sense to me. Even with having to buy a new umbrella, slipping on the wet street, and gashing my knee it was still a good day. We only brought one umbrella and I didn’t grab it on my way out the door. I would just get wet, but I wanted to protect my laptop.

Kira might have tackled some other errands today, but she was a little trapped by waiting around for the delivery of our brand new Refrigerator and Washer/Dryer. After they came and hooked everything up Kira and the kids all went out to the grocery store and bought our first food that didn’t have to be eaten right away. We now have milk in the house. Because she knew the extra vegetables could be kept fresh in our new fridge we had a chef’s salad for dinner tonight full of fresh ingredients and some crab meat to make it interesting. In case you are wondering, Ranch dressing does not seem to be a thing here.

After dinner we watched Ratatouille on my laptop. It was quite enjoyable except for the gokiburi that crawled across the floor about half way through. Melanie saw it first and stated to scream and then everyone else started to scream. We had the lights off for the movie so I couldn’t see anything, but once we had the movie paused and the lights on, I used a slipper to quickly dispatch our unwanted guest. From our neighbors perspective I am sure it sounded like this:

Aaaaaaaaaaah! Eiiiiiiiiiiiii! Aaaaaaah!…….THUMP!

I put it in with the combustible garbage.

One Comment leave one →
  1. Aunt Patti permalink
    August 14, 2015 8:05 pm

    So today you’re off to find out where they sell roach motels?

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