The System of Rubbish
So let’s get right to it and get dirty, ‘trash’ or ‘rubbish’ speaking that is. If you happen to be walking around the streets of Tokyo, Yokohama, or most other places in Japan and you finish your snack, and are now ready to dispose of your wrapper. Only to realize, that you will have to put it into your pocket, bag, or take it home with you. Now you will find free public toilets almost everywhere, but trashcans or rubbish bins will not. The one thing you will most readily see are small recycle bins for drink containers which are located almost always beside, or behind one of 5.6 million vending machines in the country.
When you finally do find a trashcan/rubbish bin, it will always be compartmentalized so you better figure it out so you don’t look foolish! It will always be separated into paper, plastics, aluminum, and then or rare occasions a forth titled ‘combustibles’ for everything else. Sometimes to simplify things and sorted later, it will just have two bins, combustibles, or non-combustibles. Since there is not a lot of space in Japan, trash is incinerated or recycled instead of going to landfills.
In places like Starbucks, Burger King, Basking-Robbins, or any other such, you will find another system. There will be the two different bin systems of combustibles or non-combustibles, yet a covert third hole will be on top where you are expected to first pour out any remaining liquids from your drink, and then separate your cups into the appropriate disposal places. Most places you are expected to know this, but the helpful people at Burger King label it into English to try and help us all out to learn the Japanese way! ;-)