Seoul to adopt new system to reduce food waste
By Kim Rahn
Seoul City will adopt a volume- or weight-rate disposal system for kitchen refuse starting next year.
The changed system is designed to reduce food waste, forcing people who are dumping more waste to pay more.
The city government said Tuesday the new system will be fully implemented in all of its 25 districts, in both apartments and individual houses, from January next year. Currently, the system is applied only to individual houses in 18 districts.
“Citizens are paying the same amount of money, about 1,200-1,800 won per month, regardless of the amount of food garbage. If they have to pay more money when dumping more, they’ll try to reduce their waste and consequently it will help protect the environment,” an official said.
Three options will be introduced in the new system, with each district determining the options.
The first is a standard plastic garbage bag, similar to the one for non-food waste that was adopted in 1995. Those wanting to throw out a larger amount of kitchen refuse can purchase a larger plastic bag. This system is currently applied to individual houses in the 18 districts.
The second is a chip-based option: Citizen will purchase a one-time chip, the price of which will be similar to the plastic bag, along with a specially-designed food waste container.
The garbage collector will read the chip when collecting the waste and the citizens retrieve the container later.
The third is a weight-rate system using radio frequency identification (RFID) technology: Citizen will have an RFID card. When they place the card on a specially-designed dustbin, the door of the dustbin will open and it will weigh the garbage. Citizens then pay according to the weight.
“We expect the system to help reduce 670 tons of food waste per day. We plan to cut the total amount of kitchen refuse by 20 percent by 2014, to result in savings of some 19.5 billion won per year,” the official said.
The city plans to install machines reducing the volume of kitchen waste through drying or fermentation at houses for a pilot project.
“We’ll collect applications from the districts interested in the project. We’ll install the devices in individual houses for free, and give a subsidy to apartments for participating,” the official said.