Sodai Gomi Truck

Sodai gomi oversize junk collection, Nakano ward, Tokyo.

In gadget-saturated Japan, relieving people of their old electrical appliances is big business. Sodai gomi, or 'oversize garbage', as it is known, means anything that won't fit in the trash can, i.e. that the regular city trash collection service won't pick up.

The sodai gomi truck is therefore an almost daily visitor to most urban neighborhoods. While cities do offer such a service, it is pricy. The private sodai gomi service competes by offering a cheaper service than the city.

In fact, to get almost anything stereo- or computer-related taken away (except printers, for some reason) will cost you nothing. Other household appliances such as refrigerators, washing machines, and vacuum cleaners - as well as motorbikes and motor scooters - will cost you. To dispose of a small refrigerator, for example, will cost you in Tokyo around 5,000 yen (roughly USD50).

The flip side of being cheaper than the city oversize garbage collection service, however, is that the private operators are fussy and some items, such as the abovementioned printers, they won't touch - probably because resale value is nil.

Listen to the sodai gomi truck announcement offering to take away computer and stereo gear 'for free', and to please 'come and talk about' other things such as motor scooters, fridges, and washing machines.

June 16, 2006.

Oversize garbage collection, Kyoto.

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