October 2018


Our monthly online newsletter,"L'ESPACE".
L'ESPACE is a diverse French word that means place,area,cosmos,and gap.

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Paper Recycling You Can Do at Home

Megumi visited her coworker, Samuel. She noticed some stacks of newspapers and magazines lined up in the hallway.

Samuel, are these newspapers and magazines that you've finished reading? You sure do have a ton of them. Oh, and there are empty cardboard boxes stacked up over there, too!
Megumi
Haha. (LOL) Actually, they've been accumulating ever since I was appointed to my position here in Japan 3 months ago. Japan has lots of complicated rules for trash collection, right? I decided to wait until I'd looked into the rules for paper trash and deal with that stuff then, but it's piled up so much now...
Samuel
I can understand if it seems like a bit of a pain, but carefully dividing up trash helps with recycling so our natural resources can be reused.
Megumi
If you put your newspapers, magazines, and cardboard boxes out for collection after you're finished with them, they can be recycled into new papers, right?
Samuel
Exactly. Paper that's been used once is called "koshi(used paper)," but it's actually an important resource that can be made into new paper again. Would you like to separate your used paper into categories together?
Megumi
Yeah, I'd love to!
Samuel
For recycling used paper, the important thing is to separate it into the different types. If different paper types are mixed together, they can’t be recycled properly.
Megumi
So, first of all, let's divide up the newspapers and magazines.
Samuel
After we're done, tie them up with some twine. Break down the cardboard boxes, then tie them up.
Megumi
Should I take all the tape off of the cardboard boxes first?
Samuel
Yes, please do. Incidentally Samuel, what do you do with your milk cartons?
Megumi
Umm, I've been throwing them away with my burnable trash.
Samuel
Oh, I see. Actually, milk and juice cartons are recycled into toilet paper and tissue paper. Rinse them out with water and dry them, then you can put them out for recycling.
Megumi
Understood. I'll do that from now on.
Samuel
Also, trash like paper packaging, paper boxes, memo pads, envelopes, and the cores of toilet paper and plastic wrap can all be precious resources. You don't throw any of those things away with the burnable trash, do you?
Megumi
Well, actually, I do.
Samuel
When you carefully separate out these "miscellaneous paper materials," it reduces the volume of burnable trash, helping to promote efficient reuse of resources. Please remember that.
Megumi

After the two of them finish sorting the materials, they relax in the living room with some tea.

Incidentally, is there any paper that can't be recycled?
Samuel
Yes. Dirty materials like pizza boxes and hamburger wrappers, materials with a strong odor like cleanser boxes, and paper with special treatments applied like stickers or a plastic coating all can't be recycled. These can hinder the processing of used paper, so be careful not to mix them into your recycling. Throw those things out with your burnable garbage.
Megumi
Got it. Japan's trash sorting rules are even more complicated than I thought. In Singapore, most apartments have a garbage chute, and people just throw everything down there, everything from food waste to plastic, glass, and even cans.
Samuel
Hearing that gives me culture shock!
Megumi
Of course the trash gets sorted to some extent after that, but the recycling rate there is low. Even so, Singapore is currently trying to promote recycling. After all, there are predictions that there will be no more land left for landfills by 2035.
Samuel
Final disposal sites reaching their limits for trash is a problem in Japan as well. People need to think more seriously about how to use resources and make efforts to reduces their own individual trash output.
Megumi

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