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Practice English Speaking&Listening with: Recycling in Japan - A How To Guide

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Martina: When we first moved to Japan we didn't think that learning their recycling system could be so challenging.

Simon: But, oh boy were we ever wrong. But now, finally, after three years of living in Japan I think we finally got it right

Simon: and we can finally convey to you how to recycle and throw out your garbage in Japan.

Martina: Look at this.

Simon & Martina: Look at this!

Martina: Now when you first moved to Japan, whether you're in a house or an apartment, you should be given a kind of cheat sheet like this.

Martina: And it's very specific to the area your living in because it's not the same for everybody every single day. cheat sheet

Martina: Now I call this a cheat sheet but really it's more like the periodic table of elements... but for garbage.

Martina: This is so specific.

Martina: If you want to throw your rubber ducks and plastic guns, there's a day for that.

Martina: If you want to throw your spoons and forks, and your cassette player... there's a day for that too.

Martina: Not to mention things like floppy disks and md disks, because Japan is really into tape cassettes and CDs and records, but there's a special day for that.

Martina: Now they leave me these blank spots up here because as I mentioned before...

Martina: depending on the neighborhood you live in pick up days will be different.

Martina: So the very bottom of the sheet, you find the neighborhood that you live in and then you follow the element and you say ...

Martina: "Okay, I'm in this neighborhood. Mondays are garbage days" and you fill it in so that you don't forget.

Martina: This is like a lot of work (laughs) that you have to do and we definitely messed it up a lot.

Martina: We lived in one place before we got our house and that had its own set of rules as well.

Martina: And then we came to our house and we're like it should all be the same super easy (laughs).

Martina: It wasn't, we even got ding dongs on our doorbell for our neighbors being like (chipmunk voice) "Hey guys, this isn't the right day for that"

Martina (chipmunk voice): and we were like "ohhhh"

Martina: Oh, and if you don't have one of these and you live in Japan, you should be able to pick it up at your local city hall.

Simon: Come join me at our recycling station.

Simon: This isn't... Martina: (makes train whistle), All aboard! Simon: All aboard the recycle train!

Simon: This isn't provided to you by City Hall, so we went out to Ikea and we bought our own little system right here.

Simon: This is a four drawer shelf, usually for toys, but this is where we throw all of our recycling.

Simon: In the top left corner is where we have our plastics, our little bags, our bubble wraps.

Simon: This section right here is where we have our plastic bottles.

Simon: Do note though, you cannot throw a plastic bottle in its entirety here.

Simon: Before you throw it in, you're supposed to rip off the label, put that in the plastic.

Simon: Take off the cap and put that cap in the plastic as well.

Simon: The bottle has to be separate from the rest of the plastics

Simon: Yes, it is that serious.

Simon: In the bottom left, is where we have our aluminum.

Simon: So any kind of cans from drinking non-alcoholic juice and cans of tuna.

Martina: Whoa, can we just talk about the amount of tuna that you have!

Simon: Yeah, I eat a lot of tuna! I work out! I need tuna, I need protein! So, what!

Martina: Simon has sad meals where he just takes cans of tuna and he dumps it into a container, puts like half a teaspoon of mayo, and a little sprinkling of dill.

Martina: And then like half an onion because he's polish and he's his dad son.

Simon: Ask my parents a question, this is the dinner table that they eat at, why does my dad have like a bag of onions beside your chair at the dinner table?

Simon: Please, explain. Simon's dad: I love onion.

Simon: I love onion!

Martina: And then he takes that tuna and he just eats it... dry. Simon: I don't even put it on bread.

Martina: Do you even lift bro? Simon: Sometimes

Simon: And in the bottom right corner is where you hold your glass.

Simon: So any kind of like glass containers from like mustards that you might have had (Martina: Wine!).

Simon: Or any non-alcoholic (Martina: Wine!) wine that you have, that could also go in here.

Simon: This is a family-friendly channel here.

Simon: So all of your glass goes in the bottom right corner, and that's not even the entirety of a recycling station.


*upbeat music*

Simon: Now this next section of recycling isn't the most glamorous.

Simon: Any kind of loose papers you have, so junk mail or envelopes or even like milk cartons.

Simon: Once you're done with your milk carton you take off the little plastic cup and you throw it in the plastic bin.

Simon: Then you gotta rinse out your milk carton and dry it out.

Simon: Afterwards, you pop it open so it's all flat.

Simon: And in case you didn't know, they have little instructions on the side here.

Simon: No missing children here.

Simon: These are instructions (Martina: *laughs*) about how to throw out your recycling properly.

Simon: You're suppose to split this open gracefully like (gruff voice) this.

Simon: Right

Simon: With sheer elegance. And then this little plastic bit right here... rip this off!

Martina: *laughs*

Simon (gruff voice): Recycling is so great!

Simon: There you go, this goes with your plastics and recycling.

Simon: This goes back in here,

Simon: with the rest of your paper.

Simon: They have to be thrown out in paper bags

Simon: So this is ours and we actually collect a whole lot of paper bags. Come with me to my paper bag corner.

Martina: There it is Simon: There *laughing*

Simon: We don't have any nice place for so we just jam all of our paper bags beside our fridge.

So this is where we store all of our paper bags again, not the most glamorous. I'm sure that there's some

Contraption that's really good for sore knees but we haven't figured out yet and it's tough because these are tough

To come by there are plenty of times we have garbage and not enough paper bags

A lot of supermarkets don't actually give you paper bags for garbage

one does

Kinokuniya we only shop there so we can get their paper bags every once in a while so that we could throw out our paper recycling

In fact when we came back from our Canada and us trip, our luggage was mostly full of paper bags

We didn't even bring souvenirs. It was like hey, look at all these paper bags

I got to bring them back with us and we collect these for safety sake in the future

Paper bags are very important to recycling in Japan

Well, I talked about we're cycling up who's ready for some more cards Warren who's ready for the big boy paper, let's do this

I'm not even done yet as soon as your paper bag is full and ready to be thrown out on the

designated paper day

You can't just leave it out on its own

You need paper tape to seal the bag shut you could buy this at your grocery store

They have it along with the other bags and the twine and whatnot. We even talked about the twine yet

I know what you're thinking am

I really watching a video where guys getting excited about twine for recycling and the answer is yes

And we're not even close to being finished. So hold on to your underpants

this is gonna be a wild ride and by wild I mean as wild a video about recycling in Japan can be

Who's ready for some more cardboard?

Who's ready for the big boy paper? Let's do this!

So make sure that you close up your paper bag with the paper tape, I do have a confession to make

This is actually the wrong tape

This is just brown duct tape that I've been using simply because I forgot to buy paper tape this week

And we just recently ran out and I'm so ashamed and I hope that nobody knows look you viewers

This is a secret between us don't tell anybody else

Ok, I will buy paper tape today. And this won't happen again just do as I say not as I do. Ok. Yeah

You're gonna take that vinyl tape off. Yeah, this is just just for demonstration sake I would never

Do this more than once of course

Where does this tape go? Is this garbage or is this recycling? Quickly!

I think this one has three carbon atoms

And by Northwest wind is coming at 70 kilometers an hour a v' this way

I think the Blood Moon...

You'll probably blow through the clear plastic bags the most because you're gonna be using it for tin cans

for glass for plastic bottles and for vinyl so things like

Plastic bags for containers plastic bags from shopping. If you're bananas, for some reason we're wrapped in plastics at one time

This is really easy like crushed down so you can fit a lot in here before you throw out your plastic

But you want to make sure that if you have any food containers you rinse that off before you throw it in here it should

Be so clean that you can take your hand and just stick it inside

And then shuffle it around and then pull it back out again and go

Smells like nothing, maybe a tiny bit of soy sauce

Outside of tin cans glass in the plastic that I've already shown you PET bottles go into their own bag

And here's a cool Japan recycling fact for you

Japan was one of the first countries to get on the PET bottle trend

I didn't know what PET meant until I looked it up, but it turns out that PET is a special type of biodegradable plastic

That you can actually take and turn it into something else so you can turn it into

polyester or other types of plastic bottles and there are some companies in Japan that became the first companies to make

Uniforms out of the recycled bottles that they recycled from their company pretty neato

- - all aboard the pain train next stop boredom or should I say cardboard? Um

You're all night with my lame-ass jokes. All right. Now you have a whole bunch of cardboard

We got this little like Rolly stain right here that we keep in our little shame dump hole

Every house has a dump hole what you store a bunch of crap that they don't know what else to do it and we store

our cardboard there and once it finally gets full then what you have to do is

You start laying it out all flat

The first time that we try to throw out our cardboard I did it the North American way

Which you'd like have one box and then you scoop up a whole bunch of boxes within that box

I'm sure you've seen that before on the whole box stuffing, right?

But then our neighbor our granny neighbor

Rang on our doorbell the next morning. She had like twine and she had the paper tape and she's like

"You didn't do it the right way, let me show you how"

And my heart sank.. and fell out my anus

and now I'm never having that happen again

So I'm gonna show you so you don't have to feel the same shame you buy this little twine

which is a nightmare mind you because you got to pull it off in the middle here and it always gets stuck on something and

There's always big clumps of it like hair balls. You just got to cut around it fortunately for this role

I have been very slow and meticulous to not get this stuck, but can tie this up like so


Roll that around make it car is so good. That's many things like this

I didn't relent I can tell you right now. That is the little kitty is very intrigued

Ohhh! What's that about?

All right

So I tied up one side flippity doo-dah

Which is the accurate term

You flip this over

I'm really interested in this


this goes out with your paper and your cans and your bottles and your used clothing and I think your

Explosives as well. Yes. Yes. There's a bag for that Wow

We have we've barely scratched the surface and we're recycling. We still got so much more to go

perfect recycling example

So they thought it was a vegetable shop their boxes fold it into other boxes

They put the styrofoam stacked and it's just a beautiful piece

of organized art work

Now for all items that cannot be recycled such as food waste, balls,

aluminum foil, LPs, rubber products, photographs of friends and families and exlovers and plastic containers

That cannot be cleared

They go into a designated City garbage bag

which has to do with the

Particular little tiny city that you're in you have to purchase those at a grocery store or the dollar store or even City Hall

They have all types of sizes of garbage bag the biggest one we've ever purchased are these big boy

So gigantic forty liter variety which

Actually makes me laugh when I go back to Canada because normal garbage bags

I could probably get into them and like tie myself up in but this is like

Such a big boy garbage bag for us ten of these cost about $8

Now on to our personal favorite garbage bag it's a 20 liters variety

This is what we use for our normal life

There's just two of us and a cat who poops a lot

So we have to use all of our waste into here and honestly

It's not a very big bag if you look at it now because we recycle so much

We really only fill one or two of these a week and two would be maybe because we're throwing out a huge pile of cat

Poop and sand but otherwise, we really rarely fill these up really like looking for things to put in it

We'll empty all of our garbage bins from our washrooms all our q-tips all of our snotty nose tissues

So really we're like barely throwing out any garbage anymore

Which I think is probably the whole point of carefully recycling to reduce your waste right after this

There is also a ten liter bag which we found a bit too small.

Ah, look! A dead battery

I need to throw this out. I guess I finally have use for this measly 5 liter bag

I'm gonna throw this in here

Stop you fool! WHAT? You need to go to City Hall and buy the designated red explosive bag

Oh, it's so small and then on one special day

You can bring it to the curb and leave it for the battery fairies to pick up. It's usually on the paper day.

This actually isn't a dead battery, I'm gonna put this, put that back in everything in here's actually important

we can't actually show you what the red battery bag looks like because we just recently threw it out and

I just wish we would have planned this sooner

But anyways, it's the size of a.. bla-

Now some of you might have noticed that we actually have a new couch and the question is what happened to our old couch? Well

I had to call City Hall and set up a specific date for them to pick up the couch when I set up that date

they asked for the exact dimensions of the couch and when I told him that they told me a

Specific sticker that I had to get I don't know where to get that sticker. The people that helped us with moving the couch

They bought the sticker for me, but I'm guessing it's City Hall or convenience store

If somebody knows please correct me in the comment section below and then when it was finally time to pick it up you leave

your couch out on the curb with the sticker on it and the special garbage people come and pick it up and then you can

Avoid your sticker of shame

Are you done?

I'm trying to do a YouTube. I think we're nearly done explaining all there is to know about recycling and garbage

but there's still more to know

And the degree from The King of Recycling

who states the following items are collected free of charge leaves and branches of a maximum size of 50cm in length by

7 cm thick when bundled together the bundles diameter should be

The limit of it

per house election

If you're in your garden and you're cutting branches and cleaning the leaves and cutting the lawns

You can do three bags outside and they will pick it up for you on your garbage day

but if you have more than three

If you've got four you have to hold that fourth one until the next

Possible time period that it can be collected or they will not collect it and they will leave you a sticker of shame

Twice a month they actually have designated non burnable garbage days

Which for me doesn't make sense because I think everything is burnable

If you try hard enough

This is when you throw out your glass panes, your pots or your light bulbs, your floppy disks,

your spoons and your forks, or your paint cans and other such non burnable items

Now I have a lot of respect for garbage men. In fact before my dad became a high school teacher

He was actually a garbage man. I know that they work really hard

But the garbageman in Japan seemed to really hustle when the truck is going down the street

there's one guy in the truck and there's another guy that's

sprinting ahead and you checks and collects the garbage and they're just like

Constantly hustling like super busy bees and they're really friendly and nice

They're not gruff or mean if you're going by on your bike and you're kind of in their way

They'll pull everything off to the side and like smile and nod to you

It just seems like they're just so nice and they keep our city so clean. So, thank you garbage, man

We really appreciate what you're doing

When you finally done all the right things and you've tied up your garbage in the right bag and you're ready to throw it out

In apartments, they usually have a designated garbage area that you can leave it

But if you're living in your own house, usually you leave it on the curb

I do

strongly advise when you put out your garbage you either put it in a garbage bin like this that has a lock on top or

Even some kind of vignetting that you could put on top of it because of the crows the crows in Japan

Do not mess around. They're huge big

Terrifying beefy monsters like pterodactyls that black out the Sun

We have plenty of days that we've rolled our bikes through garbage day

and we've seen just the strong cart and we've seen just a roon carcasses of

garbage bags all over the streets because if crows will come and cruise and they will rip it up and they'll tear it up the

crows don't clean up after themselves and they will leave you with the mess to clean up afterwards and they will leave you with the

Shame that you will feel around your neighbors because you did not protect your garbage from the crows


- actually that never happened to me, but I saw it happening to other people

Look at the size of the locks on this thing.

Let me also just say that I ran back afterwards after getting that footage because there's been oh shoot they're here from house

There have been some times that I have messed up the garbage and I have received a notice of shame and I don't want them

To know what house is associated with me. So I'm hiding here, but I'm watching them from a distance

I hope they don't know where I live

What are you doing? It's garbage date for my village. So I am just cleaning up the village

It was getting a little bit on the bedraggled side. That's so


In front of my mushrooms here

Mm-hmm, so just putting together

the correct pattern

Poor doc he was in such a dirty situation

It's a nice looking Tanuki you got there. Thanks he guards our house. What does he guard our house from?

Other Tanukies. Other Tanukies?

For those of you that saw our video and clever Japanese packaging we did read some comments about people being

concerned about the vast amount of plastic being used but I think that you can see that Japan really takes is recycling seriously here if

You haven't seen the video on clever Japanese packaging. I made a little playlist of other informative videos

You could click on the link here

And if you did find this video somewhat informative and useful

make sure you subscribe to our channels where we have more travel tips and more information about Japan to come and

Lastly for me this system in Japan seems a little bit crazy and overwhelming but maybe in your country. It's normal

I'm not sure


please let me know in the comment section what it's like in your country if

Recycling is the same, or if Japan just does go a little bit above and beyond when it comes to the garbage disposal

The Description of Recycling in Japan - A How To Guide