Garbage disposal rules to know for foreigners who live in Japan

Garbage disposal rules to know for foreigners who live in Japan


Housing in Japan



Japanese people accept as a matter of course that there are rules for taking out the garbage. Most foreigners do not understand such rules and find it difficult to take out the garbage.


In this article, we will explain rules of garbage disposal for foreigners living in Japan.


What happens if you ignore garbage disposal rules

People who do not follow the garbage disposal rules are likely to get in trouble.

If you don’t follow the disposal rules in your area, the garbage staff don’t pick up your trash. Your trash will be left at the collection station. Then a community caretaker might check the trash and who threw out what in order to return it.


・You might be warned by the management company of your condo

When you ignore the rules, local government officials will alert the management company of your condo. The management company reminds the residents to follow the rules. If the management company finds out that it was you who did not follow the rules, they will warn you directly.


・Your contract with your rental property may be terminated

As mentioned earlier, your condo management company will remind you to follow the rules. Nevertheless, if you continue to ignore the rules, you will be considered a “trouble-making resident.” And eventually, your contract may be terminated.



3 Key Points for Garbage Disposal Rules

The rules for disposal of household waste vary depending on where you live. But there are some rules in common.


1. Take out the trash on a certain day of the week.

There are certain days of the week when trash collectors make their rounds of the area and come to collect household trash. For example, combustible waste is on Tuesdays, non-combustible waste is on Wednesdays, and so on, depending on where you live.


Even if combustible trash is set for Tuesday, you are not allowed to take it out any time on Tuesday. Put it out on Tuesday morning by the time the garbage truck makes its rounds. You are not allowed to put it out on Monday night. This is because there are animals that come to rummage through the garbage at night and as a result, the area around the garbage collection station becomes dirty.


2. Put the garbage out in the designated station

Garbage collection stations can be found in various parts of the city. But not all of them allow you to take out your trash. You can only use one assigned garbage collection station.  Ask your real estate agent or manager to tell you where the collection station is located.


3. Trash must be divided into four categories

Basically, trash should be divided into the following four categories:

(1) Combustible waste

Food waste, paper, etc.

(2) Non-combustible waste

Bottle lids, glass, etc.

(3) Recycled waste

Empty cans, plastic bottles, etc.

(4) Bulky waste

Sofas, desks, etc.


Do not put the four types of trash together.



In Case of Doubt

The rules for putting out the garbage in Japan are very strict. When you are confused, ask the city hall or ward office of the place you live for information on the rules for garbage disposal.



You may think the garbage disposal rules in Japan are complicated and troublesome, but these rules help to keep the town clean. As the broken glass window theory says, the security in the city comes from the clean and tidy environment.


It’s not easy to get used to the rules of garbage disposal, but it’s a necessary thing to do in order to create a clean and safe city.

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