January 6, 2012 1 Comment
Since we move into our house/apartment in Okinawa, we are having trouble with our recycling being picked up. The city gave us a large poster in English describing in great detail how garbage and recycling is supposed to work. Garbage we figured out quite quickly what they take and what not. Use the right bags and put it at the curb twice a week sorted by burnable and non-burnable and that was that. Recycling was a whole different story. Firstly, it is picked up only every other week the 1st and 3rd Saturday of a month. So, when you miss one pick-up, you have to wait for two weeks while accumulating more bottles and cans somewhere in the apartment. For 6 months now, Denise and I were separating the recycling from our garbage as a good German and Californian would do and we put things in the right city recycling bags out on the curb but it was very hit and miss – mostly miss – whether things got picked up or not. When we do something wrong with garbage, there is always a somewhat helpful message (in Japanese) attached telling us what was wrong when it was left behind. With recycling we had that luck only once and the message – after being translated by a co-worker – was not helpful at all. Asking around at work, no one could help. More trail and error after that (again, mostly error). Then we had our big christmas party and the number of bottles, cans, etc. stored in our apartment simply got too large to ignore the problem any longer. I ask a Japanese speaking co-worker, the always very helpful Ms. C., to call the city of Onna and ask how recycling works. They told her that there are blue bins on the street that we need to put stuff into. We had never seen any of these bins. Now, yesterday evening, driving home from work – there they are! Blue bins on the sidewalk that are apparently put out by the city the night before recycling pick-up day. The closest set of bins to our apartment was some 60-100m down the street and it took me four trips carrying all our bags and crates down there. When we came back from Yoga at noon today: SUCCESS!! The bins were gone and nothing was left behind. What a relief. After 6 month (mid-May until now), we have finally understood how recycling works. Makes me wonder why the city poster does not explain how that works.