Find a trash can in Tokyo   ゴミ

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The few public garbage Tokyo come in colors according to the rules of recycling.

The many crows in Tokyo, sworn enemies of waste recycling.

the pocket ashtray (ポ ケ ッ ト 灰 皿) indispensable partner of the Japanese smoking.

Recycling batteries in a supermarket in Tokyo.

Mission impossible?

We see it in Tokyo (and elsewhere in Japan): clean streets, but not a trash can in sight! So what do Tokyoites do with their garbage? Traveling in the Japanese capital, and what to do with "gomi" (waste).

Nowadays, trash cans seem to hide in Tokyo...but that has not always been the case. In fact, most public trash cans were removed in 1995 after the sarin gas attack by the Aum in the capital's subway. Also, you are unlikely to see a house's trash cans: Japan practices recycling on a large scale, with all the Japanese rigor as well. The garbage bins as you know them probably don't exist in Japan, and communal waste collection, placed in colorful bags, takes place every morning.

Discipline and recycling

Since 1995, Tokyoites demonstrate good citizenship to be enjoyed by all: you do not throw trash on the ground, and no one leaves their house without a plastic bag for small daily waste. Smoking, for example, was banned in several districts of Tokyo, and special smoking places were designated, or a "pocket ashtray" has to be used.

Another reason for this urban cleanliness: from Shinjuku to Ueno via Ginza, every five minutes we see employees responsible for cleaning, armed with tongs struggling to remove chewing gum and clean up trash.  It is extremely rare to come across a trash bin here, and even if you do, it will be a three binned trash can for recycling. Try not to confuse containers for glass, plastic, and magazines!

So, how do you not walk through Tokyo with pockets loaded with trash?

The green tourist guide

- Do not imitate Tokyoites who have the bad habit of putting their trash in bike baskets, or even worse throwing their trash in the Sumida river (even in Japan, it happens).

- Always take a plastic bag with you for trash, and once filled, throw it away at any department store or subway station (there are always bins in the restroom). 

- Take your cans and bottles to the bins provided next to the tens of thousands of vending machines in Tokyo.

- Do not forget konbini (Seven Eleven, Family Mart ...) offer trash cans at the entrance, however normally reserved for customers.

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