In the last year or so, cities across Japan have started implementing the new expensive trash bag scheme in an effort to curb the amount of waste that needs to be burnt every day. Where I am, a 10 pack of bags costs around ¥500! While I applaud them for their ecological initiative, the special new coloured trash bags are *really* expensive, and you can save a lot if you know how to recycle wisely.
It still shocks me how many people are unaware that plastics other than just PET bottles can be recycled – or at least, for the purposes of saving money, can be put into much cheaper clear recycling bags. Some plastics are not worth recycling, but thats not for you to worry about. Indeed, anything and everything that has that little PURA mark on it can be thrown into the recycling bags, albeit separately from cans and bottles in another bag. In our house, we have a little recycling station in the corner of the kitchen. We have two recycling bags hanging there, one for cans and bottles, and the other for household plastic waste. You would be truly surprised at how much of your general waste is actually plastic.
So, regardless of whether the local government is actually recycling the plastic or not – there was a news report about Kyoto city just burning it along with all the other waste (I can’t for the life of me find a link to the video or an English article on it, sorry) – there are serious savings to be made by cutting down on the number of trash bags you’re buying each month.
On another shelf we put cardboard and papers. Depending on your area, there may actually be a pickup for paper recycling. I lived here for years oblivious to the fact that one of those trucks playing an annoying tune that drove around at all hours of the morning was actually a paper recycling merchant – and they’ll even give you a little pack of tissues or a free trash bag if you’re getting rid of a lot (now there’s a reward we can really get motivated by!). They’ll also take your milk-packs, which is slightly more convenient than having to carry it to your local store to recycle them. Ask around about the paper pickups in your area.
My project for next month is to reduce our waste even more by making an indoor smell-free fast composter! Stay tuned for the next instalment of saving on trash bags.
Inspired by The Frugal Girl – showing near-zero waste is entirely possible!