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How to separate and dispose of garbage in Japan

Garbage must be separated in accordance with the very strict rules in Japan. All people who live in Japan must dispose of garbage in compliance with the guideline for garbage separation stipulated by respective local governments.

Basically, you must separate garbage into “Burnable Garbage”, “Non-burnable Garbage”, “Paper”, “Bins”, “Cans”, “Metal”, etc. You must put garbage in the designated bags and take them to the designated place on the designated days of the week. Note that if you take out garbage in other bags than the designated ones, or on any other day than that designated, your garbage will not be collected.

You can buy the designated bags at supermarkets or convenience stores. You could not buy the bags  designated for your residence area in a supermarket store or convenience store far from your residence. Be sure to confirm the area in which the bags are usable before you buy them.

gomibunbetsuBasically, separate garbage into the following categories:

  • Burnable garbage
  • Non-burnable garbage
  • Paper
  • Bins
  • Cans
  • Metal


Search for the home page of your residence area through the Internet to find how to separate garbage in detail. When you search, put key words “XX city (or the name of your residence area)” and “garbage”) to access the homepage. If you have time, you can directly go to the public office to receive the detailed written instruction.


The garbage collection area is designated. When you enter into a lease contract, be sure to confirm where it is.

Japanese system to dispose of garbage in neat and clean manner “Garbage Separation”

We generate a lot of garbage in our daily lives. The methods or facilities to dispose of the garbage vary by respective categories.

When we  separate the garbage in a correct manner before we take it out, the cost for garbage disposal can decrease and some part of the garbage can be recycled as resource.

When each of us follow the rules, the garbage can be rapidly disposed of, which would contribute to keeping our residence area clean.

Example of garbage separation

There should be detailed rules specific to your residence area. Be sure to consult with the city hall of your residence.

Burnable garbage

Items made of wood, paper or plastics

Non-burnable garbage

Items made of metal, glass or ceramics

Bulky garbage

Fixtures, home appliances, bicycle, etc.
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Recyclable resources

Cans, bins, PET bottles, etc.