Day 2 Trash and Recycling – Sorting Chart and Pick-up Schedule

The Big Idea

Japan has used people’s coordinated effort and technological innovation to reduce the amount of trash going into landfills by 90% since 1990.


  • Read a Japanese recycling sorting chart and a pickup schedule (in English for foreigners).
  • Use authentic symbols and illustrations to explain household recycling procedures.



  1. Recall yesterday’s problem of the wooden chopsticks. Each year 22 billion pairs and their wrappers discarded after just one single use. It is just a small item, but with a population as large as Japan’s, small items add up to a lot of trash. With limited space available for landfills, Japan has a waste management challenge. Let’s see how they deal with it.
  2. View video #1. While watching, make a list of all the different kinds of trash that Aiko and her dad bag separately.
  3. Divide into groups of 4. Give each group a copy of “A Guide to Garbage Disposal in Japan.” Also provide the students with the Recycling Clipart file to use. Have each group make an illustrated set of 4 posters that explain to a new JET teacher who will be moving to Japan what he or she needs to know about discarding household waste. When the posters are finished, collect them and pass them out to different groups. Use the Recycle Blunder powerpoint to introduce waste management mistakes one-by-one. If the posters their group has now would have prevented the JET teacher from making that mistake, the students give thumbs up and say “Okay!” If the JET teacher could have made that goof, the students should say “No good” in Japanese. That’s “Dame!” Pronounce it “Dah-may!”
  4. Watch Video “2 about the town that produces no trash. How do they do it?
  5. Homework viewing assignment. Pass out the “Recycling Video Notes” graphic organizer. Divide the class in half and assign watching Youtube video #3 to one group and video #4 to the other. Tell them to take notes on the graphic organizer. Tomorrow pair share what they gleaned from the videos.