Aug 25, 2010

The Art of Garbage Disposal

Disposal of garbage is the issue which had been in my mind before I came to Japan. I have heard that for rural areas, there are as many as 22 types of rubbish?! For someone who has lived in Singapore for all her life, and only throws rubbish to the rubbish chute/ gather the bulky items (such as furniture) to the refuse area... 22 types of rubbish is mind-boggling to me.

And... to add on.. I worry about the food waste. If it's collected only once a week, what will happen to my house? Will my house be infiltrated with pests?

Finally when I reach my town. The queries are answered.

I need to separate my rubbish into 10 categories:
1. Cans
2. Glass bottles
3. Metals
4. Non-burnable bulky refuse
5. Hazardous items
6. Burnable large refuse
7. Sanitary landfill
8. Plastic bottles (more commonly known as PET bottles)
9. Recyclable plastics
10. Burnable trash

So... here's the FAQ on garbage disposal, at least in my area...

Q: Which category is food waste under?
A: It will be under burnable trash.

Pack the food waste (known as biodegradable waste, too) individually in air tight plastic bags for each meal, which is what I do. This keeps my place smell-and-pest-free. My trash can at home is also one with cover.

Q: How frequent is the trash collected?
A: Burnables are collected twice a week. Recyclable plastics and PET bottles are collected twice a month. The rest are very rare, once a month or only on special days.

Q: Is there a designated place to dispose my trash?
A: Yes, there is.

A trash disposal site

Q: Is there a designated plastic bag to contain the trash?
A: Yes, there is, and you can buy them in the supermarket. Different sizes are available.

Q: When do I dispose the trash?
A: Usually for my area, the trash truck will come in the morning of the designated day. We are suppose to throw in that morning and not the night before, as the crows may attack the trash (aka leftover food) and that will disastrous. Imagine a huge mess at the collection area. Hence, do not throw your trash the night/ evening before, you may be frowned upon.

Q: Oh dear! What happens if I miss the dates?
A: You can throw the cans, glass bottles, plastics and PET bottles at the supermarkets. Some convenience stores have trash bins for them as well. Try not to throw your burnables at these places, as you will be frowned upon, too. :P Notices have already been put up to deter people from doing that.

Q: What are the trash categories at supermarkets?
A: It's slightly more complicated here. Here's the list (not exhaustive):
1. PET bottles
2. PET bottle caps
3. Food containers (plastic)
4. Food containers (Styrofoam)
5. Cans
6. Glass bottles

To prevent the plastics from piling at home. I will clean the food containers and PET bottles, and bring them to the supermarkets to dispose them. Remember to wash away the food waste in the plastics you are discarding!

You will get used to it, soon, like me. Recycling for the better future! Actually I do hope Singapore will start recycling efforts, too. Of course, pls simplify it to just paper, glass, plastics, burnables (for food waste etc) and bulky items; and more frequent collection timing.

Have fun recycling!