I had to get accustomed to a life of recycling after living in England for 27 years where I would just throw out crap in one huge bag.
Its not exactly tough but it can be a pain when you have a ton of (smelly) rubbish to be collected.
This is a sign showing what type of rubbish is collected and when. Taking this location for example, Wednesday and Saturday is combustible (burnable) rubbish like fish bones, moldy apples, jawa meat and other burnable stuff. Combustible rubbish is usually called Nama Gomi (生ゴミ(なまごみ)).
Tuesdays is for resources like cardboard, paper, tin cans and glass bottles. Finally Thursdays is for non-combustibles (non-burnable) material like metal, plastic and your best friends Dell. Non-combustible rubbish is usually called Moenai Gomi (燃えないゴミ(もえないごみ))
Three rubbish facts:
1. Milk cartons have to be cut flat, washed and dried before it can be thrown out with the rest of the cardboard and paper.
2. If you are feeling poor, you can walk around the neighborhood on Resource day and pick up a ton of manga that has been thrown out.
3. If you want to throw out something big like a bazooka or old TV, you need to call the local ward office and arrange for a time for them to pick up stuff from outside your house. Before they come however, you need to buy a sticker to stick on your large trash. To throw away an old TV for example costs about 300 yen. This is one of the reasons why some of your relatives in Japan tell you that they pick up free electronic items from the streets - they are not lying ^^;
The Japanese take recycling very seriously here and if the rubbish collector notices some plastic in your combustibles, he will try to find out who it belongs to (addresses on envelope etc) and leave it outside your door with a note asking you to separate the rubbish properly. Not happened to me before but they got my previous neighbor all the time - smelly gits.