What do you do with your rubbish in Japan?

The country all about manners

Everyone comments Japan is clean.

Everyone says, at the same time, it’s hard to find rubbish bins (or trash cans? in US term) on Japanese streets.

There is a reason for that.

It’s because in this country rubbish is something you take home with and then dispose of at home.

That’s why you don’t really see too many rubbish bins or trash cans on streets in Japan.

Without knowing this, we see a lot of situations like this.


What’s happening here is that some other type of rubbish been thrown and mixed with Aluminium Cans.

This is a big No-No.

Around Vending Machines


So if you have visited Japan before, you know their love of vending machines.

Quite often you see plastic boxes right beside them like this.


These are the bins for drink containers.

In this photo above,

on the left, for “PET bottles”, as you can see literally,

and on the right it says, “Bottles/Cans” that means glass bottles and aluminium/steel cans go in there.

In some places you even see more boxes like this.

From left, Cans, Combustibles/Burnables and Pet Bottles
This tiny plastic basket is for collecting Pet Bottles caps separately

I live in New Zealand and we don’ collect Pet Bottles caps separately.

Apparently in Japan, these caps are collected separately because,

  1. So the recycling can be done easier
  2. Apparently once those are collected, somehow they can be turned into monetary value worth donating for certain causes as a part of charity

I honestly don’t know the system as to how that works but it is very common feature while travelling in Japan.

So now you know a bit more in depth how Japanese society works.

My advise is that do not litter the place you say you get impressed by its cleanliness, which will be quite contradictory of your thoughts and actions, right?

Here’s the mantra everyone knows.

“Take only photographs, Leave only footprints”.

Well, be a tidy tourist and enjoy your stay in Japan.

See you next time.

-Today’s Phrase-

Nihon Wa Seiketsu Desu にほんはせいけつです = Japan is clean

Keep practising, the only way to get better!

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