Thursday, May 12, 2005

The rubbish is rubbish



Before leaving England, I uttered various blasphemies against the Gods of Waste Disposal. I would like to repent.

The cause of my indignation in England was Cambridge Council's decision to reduce its collections from one a week to once a fortnight, using the excuse that this would encourage more recycling. They had a box in which you could put all your recycleable rubbish. In my ignorance, I said their changes had nothing to do with environmentalism and everything to do with cutting one of the only real services they provided to us.

I now live in waste disposal purgatory. As Dante would have it, "a school of love designed to correct the erroneous". Here we must sort our rubbish in our own homes into six different categories: plastic bottles, plastic with the recycleable "purakuru" mark, burnable rubbish, non-burnable rubbish, cardboard milk boxes and tin cans. There are many collections a week (Hooray!) but each collection is for only one of these types of rubbish (Oh dear!), which means that one must go out almost daily with a little bag of one of these rubbish categories to the communal collection site. There is no house collection of garbage. Oh no! It is all collected from a central area and this area is not the same for each category. It is up the hill for purakuru and placky bottles and non burnable rubbish but down the hill for burnable stuff. By the way, if anybody ever thought of cheating, all rubbish is put in see-through bags so the guilty can be easily identified. And, I nearly forgot, the rubbish can only be taken to the collection area between 7 am and 8.30 am on the morning it is to be collected. Not before. Not after.

A conspiracy theorist would have it that this little detail is a rather good way, given the long commute times into Tokyo, of ensuring that housewives and bigdopeyhouseforeignerhusbands must stay at home instead of getting jobs. That of course is a conspiracy theory and not fair but when you are in Waste Disposal Purgatory your mind tends to wander and entertain the strangest imaginings.

6 comments:

Anonymous said...

I just can't see this working out for you somehow - memories of Cambridge/Halifax/Takayama......etc.

kuri said...

It does seem a bit of a challenge.

kuri said...

http://nytimes.com/2005/05/12/international/asia/12garbage.html?hp&ex=1115956800&en=023d82df8a1a227b&ei=5094&partner=homepage

Obviously on the button with that one

Jon said...

That's wrong. What's the point in being a foreign house husband if you have to go outside that early. You need to go on rubbish strike.
Let it all pile up outside your place.
It'll be a good way to break the ice with the neighbours...

kuri said...

I might even make the local paper

AY said...

If you do that, Kuri, I will get a housekeeper for you. So please don't.