Sustainability: Trash Removal

Before we get started, just to be clear, this post is not about zero waste living. Zero waste living is next level minimalism where people make lifestyle choices to reduce and eventually eliminate their generation of waste products in their life. To learn more about zero waste living you can read these amazing stories for inspiration and how to’s:

This post is about taking your trash with you in your day-to-day life. Why would you do this? To beautify your environment by not leaving trash on the ground and not adding it to the public trash cans. When you take your trash with you and dispose of it at home its far less likely to end up in the ocean or some other natural environment.

I first heard about this concept from a friend who had recently visited Japan. They made an observation that Japan had no public trash cans and the streets were clean. Apparently in Japanese culture, it’s normal for everyone to take their trash with them and dispose of it at home.

How did this come about? 

According to this articles:

Japanese people are naturally averse to litter, but that’s not the only reason for the lack of trash. In 1995 there was a sarin gas attack that happened through a public trash can. Ever since then, trash cans have been removed from public places to prevent terrorists from placing gas bombs in them. Talk about another case of something bad being used to inspire something good!

Regardless of how this shift came about, I adopted this practice of taking my trash with me and disposing of it when I got home. I have to say that since adopting this practice, I’ve become far more aware of the trash that I generate in a day. Every night when I get home, I would methodically sort out my trash into the different bins.

I started to notice the overwhelming number of coffee cups and to go containers from specific restaurants. As a step towards zero waste living, I replaced the disposable coffee containers with travel mugs. For the restaurants, I started either packing a lunch or taking Tupperware with me to use as a to go container.

Do you have any interesting trash stories or insights you’d like to add to the conversation? Comment below and start a conversation!

Have you travelled to another country and discovered they handle trash and recycling completely different? Share your story below!


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