If you love pizza and you're staying in Japan for a while, chances are you might experience having a pizza delivered to your residence. While you're likely to find many similarities with pizzas in your home country, Japan also has its own unique ideas of what goes on a pizza. So, whether you just want comfort food or are curious to try a pizza with uniquely Japanese toppings, there are good reasons a pizza lover would want to order one.

Of course, you can't have a pizza without a pizza box. Unless you're staying in a hotel where people take care of your trash, you'll need to dispose of those boxes in the trash. But what's the right way of doing it? In Japan, due to the nature of the recycling process, cardboard and newspaper is disposed of separately from combustible trash (food waste, dirty plastic containers, paper products, etc.), non-combustible trash (clean plastic, etc.), bottles, aluminum foil, cans, batteries, and other trash.

Twitter user 滝沢秀一 Shūichi Takizawa, one-half of the comic duo マシンガンズ (mashin ganzu | Machine Guns) who also happens to work as a cleaner for a garbage collection company, posted something which caught many netizens by surprise: "Pizza boxes are combustible garbage."

Takizawa says he often sees pizza boxes mixed in with cardboard boxes at garbage dumps.

However, due to the nature of the food they contain, pizza boxes are often stained with oil, which gets in the way of the cardboard recycling process.

If your pizza box has oil stains, you should throw it out along with the combustible trash. Wetting the cardboard with water makes it pliable and easy to roll into a compact size. Once your cardboard is rolled up, wring it like a towel to squeeze out the water, let it dry, then throw it out with your other combustible trash.

If your pizza box has virtually no oil stains on it, you can dispose it along with other cardboard materials to be recycled. Some delivery companies provide boxes with perforations on them, allowing you to easily detach the panels. This make it easier to stack and dispose of your cardboard when it's time to throw out the trash.

Takizawa's informative post elicited numerous reactions such as:

  • "I didn't know this. I'm sorry. I've already thrown it out the wrong way several times before..."
  • "It's a good lesson for me. I think there are a lot of people who think they are recycling, but they are mistaken."
  • "I'm sorry, I made a mistake. I will do my best to be careful next time."

If you're unsure about how to dispose of any trash, contact your local municipality.

Throwing out trash correctly is an important part of being a responsible resident in Japan, so it's a good idea to get it right. It's not uncommon for other residents to get involved when mistakes are made. If that happens, learn from it and do it right the next time. As long as you don't decide to throw your trash out in the buff, you won't get into trouble.

By - grape Japan editorial staff.