Waste management in Japan is very different than in the United States. Japan primarily incinerates all of their waste while the United States disposes of their waste in landfills. Japan, on the other hand, does not recycle a lot of their waste compared to the United States. However, Japan does use their old landfills to generate energy. We had the chance to tour a solar farm that had been built on top of an old landfill.
The main reason that Japan incinerates their trash and the United States landfills is due to the amount of available land. The United States obviously has more land, so it is more feasible to dispose of trash in a landfill. Japan on the other hand, is only about the size of California, and only 14% of its land is flat enough to live on. Therefore, there is no room to be disposing of their trash in landfills. It’s a lot more practical to incinerate the waste.
Japan also has cultural reasons that have an effect on their trash disposal. I think their shame culture helps prevent a lot of people from littering. Japanese people are likely to be afraid of being called out or “shamed” if they are seen not disposing of trash properly. In the United States though, there is more of a guilt culture. However, some people in the United States will not feel enough guilt to not litter.