Recycling and waste-to-energy in S Korea

English.news.cn   2011-08-19 13:39:16 FeedbackPrintRSS

SEOUL, Aug. 19 (Xinhua) -- South Korea takes waste treatment and recycling very seriously. Its recycling system may look too complicated to outsiders, but the country boasts that this has contributed greatly to a cleaner environment and even turned waste from a burden to an asset.

In order to improve the overall quality of the environment in the country, the South Korean government implemented the volume-based waste fee system in 1995. The system requires every household to purchase specially designed plastic bags for waste disposal while the disposal of recyclables is free of charge.

The scheme seems to have offered multiple benefits: by charging fees according to the quantity of waste produced, not only do those who dispose of more garbage pay more, but there is also the effect of discouraging waste and maximizing recycling efforts.

Indeed, the pricing system has proven to be successful in South Korea's efforts to reduce waste. According to the Ministry of Environment, the amount of waste produced per person was reduced 26 percent from 1.33 kg per day in 1994 the year before the system came into effect to 0.99 kg per day in 2006. The recycling amount also significantly increased by 213 percent to 27,900 tons per day from 8,927 tons per day.

So, here is the proper way to throw away garbage in South Korea. General waste, which covers basically all things that are not food waste, recyclable or too large to be thrown away, must be put into standard plastic bags that can be easily bought at local convenience stores or grocery stores and are available in different sizes. The same rule applies to food waste, which should be separated from household solid waste. In the case of over-sized waste that includes furniture, large appliances and other items that are too large to fit into general waste bags, discharge stickers must be purchase and affixed to them. Recyclables are required to be classified by paper, plastic, metal, and glass.

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Editor: Xiong Tong
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