Japanese apartment

Japanese apartment complex a model for efficient waste management | New


Having spent his life working for a real estate company, Mineo Yahata adds value as the superintendent of the three apartment complex he manages in the city of Kawasaki, Japan.

But he’s not the head of security, as his title might suggest. On the contrary, this calm and small man oversees the collection and disposal of waste.

Yahata and her team of 21 people – all employees of Haseko Community Inc., a Tokyo-based maintenance company – have been running a unique and proven garbage collection program for six years.

“There are particular days allotted for the type of waste to be disposed of, which is kept outside the apartment door by the owners,” Yahata informed. “This is collected and brought to the central garbage collection center of the apartment complex.”

While Mondays are reserved for plastic waste, Wednesdays and Saturdays are intended for kitchen waste, while Fridays are intended for the collection of recyclable plastics and cans.

Garbage, which must be put in translucent plastic bags, is brought to a collection center where it is stored in green plastic bins and picked up by a designated garbage truck.

This service is funded by a monthly maintenance fee paid by residents of the resort.

“The apartments in this complex move quickly,” Yahata said, adding that the more than 700 apartments in the three-building complex also attract a premium.

Kawasaki, home to over 1.4 million people, is one of the smallest and cleanest cities in Japan. The effort to make the city clean, sustainable and environmentally friendly is the result of the implementation by the local government of the basic principle of “garbage to cash”.

The city currently has three waste treatment facilities, which transform some plastics and papers into raw materials that are sold to local manufacturing facilities.

Yahata and her team, meanwhile, are working hard to keep their part of the country pristine.

“The owners of the apartment are very satisfied with this installation,” he said. “We’ve never had anyone in default of (maintenance) payment, but if anyone does, we’ll put their picture on the community bulletin board.”

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