The difference in trash or MSW (municipal solid waste) disposal between Japan and the United States is one difference that I have been really surprised by. Japan takes trash disposal and recycling way more seriously than the United States despite there not being trash cans everywhere you go. In the United States, you’ll see multiple trash cans on almost every street corner, and people will still litter and not seem to care about disposal.
Another difference I was surprised by was the amount of MSW that people produce every day. People in Japan produce an average of two pounds of MSW, and in the United States it’s up to four pounds a day. This is way higher (and honestly a little worrying) than what I would have expected. I was thinking it would be more along the lines of 1 pound a day, but that is usually only in certain parts of Africa where MSW production is that low. The trash in Japan is often separated into multiple types such as combustibles, plastics, and cans/bottles. Whereas in the United States, trash is usually disposed of in one or two types: non-recyclables and recyclables.
The trash cans in Japan are also clearly labeled which isn’t too different than in the United States. However, the trash cans in Japan are also divided into the different types of waste which is different than most trash cans in the United States. This makes it easier for people to dispose of their waste properly, but in the United States the waste often gets mixed up and recyclables are lost in the regular trash.