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Differences - part 2 - Recycling


When I look at the way trash is done here, I always think of this wonderful kid named Justin Valdez. Justin went on the Garden Grove Sister City trip to Anyang, Korea when I chaperoned in 2012.

He was all about recycling. He was, after much effort and convincing, able to get his high school principal to order recycling trash cans for every class room. He set up a new recycling program at Garden Grove High School which actually helped them to save money. He started college in San Francisco, and unfortunately, that's where his story ends. You can google the name Justin Valdez to see more on that.

This picture is a great representation of how he was so passionate about recycling:

Justin Valdez

Hiroshima, and Japan in general, is all about recycling. There are not just the two ways that we know about: The trash and the recyclables. No! There are eight!

Combustible Garbage: egg shells, kitchen garbage, seafood shells, used paper (tissues, plates, napkins), wood items like matches or skeweres, etc.

PET (polyethylene terephthalate) Bottles: water bottles, soda bottles, anything that comes in a plastic bottle that one consumes. They need to be washed thoroughly before placed in a clear plastic bag for disposal.

Recyclable Plastic: I thought the one above this was recyclable plastic. No! This includes other bottles used for cooking oils, detergents, chemicals, cosmetics, bottle lids and caps, supermarket bags, etc. Also to be washed thoroughly before placed in a clear plastic bag for disposal.

Other Plastics: Another one for plastics? Oh yes... plastic hangers, shoes (I think these burn quite well, but Japan disagrees), cds, plastic toys, etc. Again, placed in a clear plastic bag. We seem to use a lot of clear plastic bags here.

Incombustable Garbage: Plates, cameras, small appliances, stuff we usually sell at a yard sale, etc.

Recyclable Garbage: Here is the stuff I always put in the recycle bin! Cardboard, newspaper, aluminum cans, glass bottles, and clothes? Yes, clothes, too. Again, to be washed thoroughly, but these go into stronger bags.

Toxic Garbage: florescent lamps, batteried, themometers, etc. These have to have "Toxic" marked on the bag.

Large Garbage: the usual furniture, bedding, and large home appliances unless they are subject to the Appliance Recyling Law (air conditioners, tube TVs, refridgerators, etc.). Even bicycles are taken.

Each of these has their own pick up day. We are still learning which ones go where and when they go out. Everyone else seems to already know these things. So how do we do it???

There is a chart that we use and we now have a recepticle for six of these categories. It can be done, there is just adjustment time. Eventually, we'll get to a point where we wonder if we REALLY need to buy that thing, just so we don't have to separate out more trash.

So, thank you, Justin! While I may not have had the passion you had about recycling, you gave me the information I needed to be able to do this without throwing a fit and just tossing stuff anywhere I pleased. You're probably even smiling about that right now. Rest well, my friend...

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