A high awareness for recycling is beautifying our neighborhood.
When I first came to Japan, something I always wondered was, “Why isn’t there even one piece of litter on Japan’s streets or neighborhoods?” Even more amazing was that, there were fewer trash cans and no sanitation workers. After living for some time in Japan, I found the answer.
When I left the house in the morning, a neighboring elderly woman greeted me with a “Good Morning” while cleaning the street in front of her house. It was a scene that I am very familiar with in Japan. Japanese people not only clean the house they live in, but the streets they live on as well. I thought to myself, “They must keep the streets clean because they like things clean.” Japanese people also bring home any garbage that they may generate while at events and outings and, separate and recycle it.
Within the town, I felt like people who carelessly litter were extremely rare. Japanese consciousness of recycling is very high due to school and home education.
For example, empty milk boxes are washed and dried before sorting and recycling. Later at the factory, they are broken down, sterilized, and then reborn into things like toilet paper. Old electronics are collected by specialty workers, cleaned, repaired, and then sold second hand. Things that can’t be used anymore have the metal extracted and made into new parts. Even in Japan the problem of large quantities of garbage is a problem, so they put great effort into not creating more trash.
Furthermore, Japanese have a habit of picking up discarded trash. It was even news at this year’s world cup that, “Japanese pick up trash and go home.” As a spontaneous reaction I thought it was really splendid.
This is just one pleasure of a journey throughout Japanese neighborhoods’ while walking down a beautiful street on a fine morning.