Both ゴミ and 廃棄物{はいきぶつ} have the meaning of waste, but how could I distinguish these two words? For sure they have some different points in meaning.

Originally I thought, that ゴミ is informal word for 廃棄物{はいきぶつ}, but now I think that it is not true...

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    www2u.biglobe.ne.jp/~kouhei-y/haikibutuno-teigi.htm Here is the definition. Simply said 廃棄物 is an administrative term for ごみ. Mar 10 '17 at 16:50
  • Thank you very much for your comment and the link! I remember, I opened this link once... Quite a good one ) But, as I mentioned below, I could meet the word ゴミ even in formal documents... So it makes more difficult to distinguish it with 廃棄物...
    – Fara
    Mar 13 '17 at 12:10
  • @Wataru'Watson'Subridge, while reading again that article from the link, I think I start understanding...
    – Fara
    Mar 13 '17 at 12:13
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    That's good. Unless you compose a thesis about certain environmental problems in Japanese, ごみ is good enough to refer to refuses and wastes. 廃棄物 generally associates with 産業廃棄物, which virtually can be seen only on signboards banning on jettison of them at certain places. Mar 13 '17 at 12:26

廃棄物 is made of 廃棄 + 物

apparently 廃棄する means "to abolish, to scrap, to repeal" (both physical things and stuff like treaties). So I guess we can think of 廃棄物 as waste (something to be disposed of) and ごみ as trash/garbage/dust/dirt (something to be cleaned up and thrown away but not necessarily destroyed).

It also helps to check examples in the dictionaries to get a better feel of the usage. E.g. for 廃棄物 you find "factory waste", "radioactive waste", "polluted by waste", "reducing waste", while for ゴミ it's usually something related to household/street garbage and figurative meaning of "trash".


ごみ means just dust, general one. Children, old persons or anyone can make it and throw it into the trash box and clean it. But 廃棄物 don't sound normal one. Perhaps children can't make it. There is not it in the trash box. Maybe the specialist can deal with it (e.g. 産業廃棄物).

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    i can't understand the negative evaluation for this answer. I'm afraid but his (or her) Emglish is not so good, but this virtually answers the question. Mar 11 '17 at 4:49
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    @user20111, Thank you for your reply, I appreciate it ! But, actually, the word ゴミ is also widely used in formal documents... So, there should be something more... )
    – Fara
    Mar 13 '17 at 12:08

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