Rinse and dry all recyclable bottles and cans, as well as non-burnable garbage, before chucking them in the bin.
Wrap all burnable garbage before throwing it in the bin, and double-wrap wet kitchen waste (if you're not composting it). Small-size plastic shopping bags are perfect for this. This took some getting used to, since I used to refuse plastic bags when shopping. I still feel guilty for using so much plastic, but it has made a big difference. And, since the bags are so eagerly given away by all the stores, it doesn't cost a penny.
Keep a large shaker jar (available at 100yen shops) full of baking soda next to the garbage can. Shake a bit in the bag each time you add something. (Large boxes of baking soda can be found at Costco, and can be ordered from FBC and The Flying Pig.)
The same can be done with dried coffee grounds. After making coffee, split open the paper filter and lay it on a large styrofoam try, and dry it outside. Add the dried coffee grounds to a jar and use to sprinkle into the gargabe bag. The grounds can also be added to ashtrays if you have smokers in the house, it will help reduce the stink and also prevent ash from flying around. The dried paper filter can be used to line the garbage can- just add it, coffee side down (otherwise the grounds will stick to the garbage bag and make a mess when you take out the trash), to the bottom of the can. It will deodorize and help absorb any liquid if the bag leaks. Replace the filter whenever a new one is dried, or when it gets wet and stinky. (Kaldi Coffee Farm, by the way, sells good coffee cheaply, those who don't live near one can order online: http://www.kaldi.co.jp/shopping.html)
Sprinkle kitty litter into the garbage can (and into the bag too). The cheap gritty kind is fine. I don't have a cat so I just buy little bags of it at the 100yen shop; the truly frugal (or those blessed with lots of storage space) can buy bigger bags at discount stores. Change the litter once or twice a week, then wash the can when the litter no longer helps.
The International Women's Network (IWN) is a group of women who enjoy chatting with people from all over the world. We hold a monthly potluck dinner where we exchange information about the local community while eating a variety of foods. No reservation is needed to attend the potluck. Just bring one dish of food and show up at the meeting. Newcomers are always welcome! Take advantage of this unique opportunity to enjoy the international city of Tsukuba with us!
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