Friday, August 4, 2017

How to throw away trash like a pro in Korea: Recycling, Food Waste, Household Trash!

Living in Korea 101
How to throw away trash like a pro in Korea: what to separate

An interesting record that Korea owns but only a few people know is that Korea is a leading country in recycling. In terms of waste recycling, we are the top 3 countries following Germany and Austria among OECD countries (Germany-63%, Austria-62%, South Korea-61%). When it comes to actually recycling those collected, we are the very top in the world(South Korea 49%, Singapore 47%, Hongkong 45%). Not only recycling helps environment but it can also be used as valuable resources.  
As you can imagine, recycling is an important part of living in Korea. Let's break down what things we separate from just.. trash!

1. Recycling Items 

There are more than these 6 but we are going to cover these 6 most frequently thrown-aways: paper(printing paper, carboard, shopping bag, etc), glass(glass jar, bottle, etc), plastic bottles(water bottles, take-out cups, etc), can & steel, plastic bags(including those plastic covers and wrappers) and other plastic products. 

If you live in a big apartment, go to a common area where they have containers for each items. You can separate things there. Afterwards, a person-in-charge would take care of the rest. (Very convenient) Smaller apartments sometimes have  shared containers. If not, or you live in a house, you can put recycling things in a transparent bag like plastic bag and leave by entrance of the building yourself. If not enough amount of items are collected over days, a week or so, you can put different types in one bag and take it out. 

■ Where to throw? 
Either at shared containers at your apartment building
OR put them in a transparent bag and leave by entrance of building

■ When to throw?
Every two days(Monday - Saturday)
8pm - 2am(*Seo-gu: 8pm - 12am) 

2. Food waste 
It is not uncommon that people throw away food with other trash. This is illegal in Korea for environmental, economic and sanitary reasons. The important thing to note is you have to throw away food only into containers approved by government. Similar to recycle, a big apartment has its shared food waste bin whereas smaller ones like "one room apt" might not have one. You can purchase one at a community service center(주민센터) nearby. When you take your container out you need to put an official sticker on the top. The stickers can be purchased at the center as well. 

■ Where to throw?
Into a food waste container approved by government with an official sticker on. 

■ Where to buy container and sticker?

At a community service center(주민센터) nearby

■ When to throw?
Every two days(Monday - Saturday)
*Nam-gu & Some parts in Suseong-gu: everyday
8pm  - 2am(*Seo-gu: 8pm - 12am)

At a community service center(주민센터) nearby

What not to throw? bones including fish bones, hard shells/seed, tea bags, etc. 

3. The rest 
Courtesy: Daegu Environmental Story

The rest is everything except the above. Aka. household garbage! Every supermarket and giant chain market like e-mart or Homeplus sells its district's trash bags at counter. Note that you need to put your trash in your district's bag. It comes in different size for your convenience.  

■ Price?
2L: 80won, 3L: 120won, 5L: 200won, 10L: 400won, 20L: 810won, 60L: 2,440won, 120L: 4,880won

■ Where to throw? 
Either at a designated spot at your apartment building
OR put them in a transparent bag and leave by entrance of building

■ When to throw? 

Sunday - Friday (*Suseong-gu: every two days) 
8pm - 2am


  1. What happens to food waste?

  2. This comment has been removed by the author.