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Talking about Trash: Cultural and Environmental factors

In lecture on Thursday, we discussed the historical development of MSW (Municipal Solid Waste) management policies in Japan and the United States. Both countries started creating legal policies for waste in the mid-1900s for environmental protection. The Solid Waste Disposal Act (SWDA) of 1965 was the first US MSW law enacted, and the Waste Management Act of 1970 in Japan became its framework for MSW policy. The beginnings of waste policies were very similar in timeliness, yet today we see that these...

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Cultural & Environmental Influences on Waste Management

It is given that each country has developed a unique culture that is shared by no other country. Such an upbringing would undoubtedly create differences in how a country operates. Consequently, there are a lot of factors that both indirectly and directly impact government policies and individual practices pertaining to waste management. 

An obvious difference is the size of land, with Japan being 26 times smaller than the United States. To put things into perspective, Japan is close in size to California alone, and approximately 70% of Japan's land is mountainous, which...

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Down and Dirty: the Root of Waste Management Practices

To really understand the sustainability of a country, you have to dig deep into the profile of the country. Every country has a different definition of “trash,” produces a different amount of trash on average, and responds to trash differently. Japan incinerates most of their waste and landfills the combusted products. America incinerates a small portion of the waste but landfills a large majority of it as it was discarded. There are several explanations as to why these two countries developed their respective waste management processes.

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Cultural Influence on Waste Management

Japan mostly uses incineration to deal with municipal solid waste (MSW) while the US mostly uses landfills. Out of all the OECD countries, Japan has a very low percent of recycling waste and the US recycles more of their trash than Japan. Both Japan and the US use their MSW disposal systems to help generate electricity. I will talk about the environmental and cultural differences that I think have influenced waste management policies of Japan and the US. Percent of...

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The Culture of Waste Management

The methods that Japan and the United States employ to dispose of Material Solid Waste (MSW) are starkly different. Japan is adamant about recycling practices and burns other garbage as its main disposal method of MSW. In this process, they reduce the amount of physical space their solid waste takes up while also recapturing some of the lost energy from the garbage by generating electricity from the burning process. There are many factors, both cultural and environmental, that can explain why Japan may prefer to implement these methods.

First, Japan is a small country with an even...

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Personal Observations on Waste Management in Japan

One of the more blatant lifestyle differences that I noticed upon arriving to Japan was the way they categorize common trash, or Municipal Solid Waste (MSW). The English translation on every trash can here denotes itself as a "combustible" or "incombustible." Instead of the USA, where a majority of our trash goes to landfills, in Japan, a majority of MSW is incinerated.

As an American, this took a second to adjust to. But now that I'm in...

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Incineration vs. Landfills: Culture's Impact on MSW Management

          Due to the discrepancies in culture among the various nations of the world, there are certain to be differences concerning policies dedicated to the management of municipal solid waste (MSW). After attending lectures, viewing resources, and having my own experiences with the methods in which MSW is dealt with, I have come to realize disparities that exist between MSW management in the United States and that of Japan. The divergence in the approaches of the United States and Japan can be connected to the amount of land occupied by each country, how each...

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