Organic waste container
Organic waste container. Image: Gary Perkin Shutterstock

In South Korea, the food is usually very filling, so food waste is also very filling and causes many problems. Faced with this problem, the Korean government has set up a program to recover waste.

All over the world are wasted 1.3 billion tonnes of food per year. According to data from the World Economic Forum, there is an urgent need to transform the food system by 2030.

The measure consists of eliminating approximately 20 million tonnes food waste only. Waste is estimated at over 130 kilos per person per year.

South Korea is an example to the world. It currently recycles 95% of food waste. The measures taken to resolve the problem are varied. In 2005, the dumping of food in landfills was banned. In 2013, the government made food recycling mandatory.

Food waste recycling machines in Seoul.
Image: © revi Wikimedia Commons

They also took the following actions:

Radio frequency identification card.

It is used to deposit the waste in a smart container. It is weighed and recorded in the user’s account. Users pay at the end of the month and the more garbage they deposit, the more they pay. to exist 6000 containers in all the countries.

With the use of cash machines, the city’s food waste has been reduced by 47,000 tonnes in six years, according to municipal authorities.

Prepaid garbage bags.

The amount to be paid will depend on the residue volume. The bags are expressly designed to be recycled. 10 liters of waste can cost less than a dollar.

Bar code.

The waste is placed in the bins for composting. Attached to the container are the stickers with barcodes used as a means of payment.

Bag collection covers 60% of the cost of running the program. Program residues are used as fertilizer and animal feed.

How is food waste handled in South Korea?

Separation by type of waste
Separation by type of waste. Image: KaliAntye Shutterstock

Once the waste is placed in the biodegradable bags, the moisture is removed. To do this, a processing plant is used which presses them and in the process it is obtained biogas and organic oil.

Once the waste is dry, it is used to fuel a government program called urban farms. It consists of promoting the urban agriculture and composters fed with this waste.