Apr 18, 2019
You have probably seen these before, haven’t you?
For months in Japan, I had no idea what they were. They weren’t public trash stations, but I see people bringing stacks of cardboard boxes to them. But my area also collected paper once in a while, so why do people bring them here rather than recycling locally? I didn’t understand.
After a while, I asked my colleagues and they told me that these recycling stations are great. They often bring their boxes and newspapers to the stations because the local collection of paper for recycling is only once a month. So, rather than letting their home space get filled up by paper, the stations help with that.
Based on friends' recommendations I then started using them too, and boy, they really are great! Here are a few reasons.
1. The first reason is that these stations are open 24/7, so as I have mentioned before, I can always go there anytime to throw my newspapers and magazines away.
Nowadays I find myself shopping from Amazon.jp more and more often. Sometimes the items come together and sometimes they come separately but either way the boxes at home do build up. It makes me feel bad that I have so many boxes at home, and they take up a lot of space even if I try to flatten them, so knowing that I can recycle them anytime at stations like these is quite nice.
Oh, sometimes the paper recycling day is on a rainy day, so I also think that it is good that I don't put paper out under the rain just to get it all sodden.
2. Another great thing about these recycling stations is that some of them can accommodate items other than paper for recycling. Some of them also take clean, used clothes and even used shoes. Sometimes I try to sell my old clothes to second-hand shops, but many of the overseas I bring clothes are not recognized as having any value at such shops in Japan. Some shops would take your value-less clothes and give you the pitiful 1 yen for each item (and they then try to sell them on too), but some shops return them to you. So if you don't want to throw them into the garbage can, you can bag them up and recycle your unwanted clothes at some of these stations instead.
3. One more reason why I like these stations is actually what I could get from them.
I remember that one year, when I was moving out of my apartment to a different city, I was looking for boxes. I didn’t want to buy them from the moving company, so I was on a hunt. My colleagues recommended going to the supermarket but those boxes for bottled tea were quite small and weren’t that convenient. So, when I biked by the recycling station I often used an idea came up and I looked in. Being late March, the moving season, I saw many stacks of big moving boxes that people had thrown out after they had moved. I reached in and brought a stack home and I had the sturdiest boxes I had ever used for moving, for free!!
My friend told me that he would take used manga magazines from these stations too, instead of buying them. I never did that but he did save a lot of money by doing so.
How about you? Do you use these recycling stations?
Thank you for posting. I am in Yokkaichi. I think the huge recycle dumpsters are monitored by video to catch people who dump dirty stuff there. I wonder if it is okay to take from there. It should be! Not only do some home centers offer covered dumpsters for recycling but a local NPO collects recyclables and reusables at Kayo Mall, then sell reusable items for a coin. I got Tiffany & Co. cups, boxed Ikea glasses, brand bag! Going there now!