Sorting your trash here in Seoul is a BIG deal. Gone are the days of throwing everything into 1 bag and tossing it onto the curb for the the garbage man to whisk away and never be seen again. Even recycling is more complicated. For those of you who live in apartment buildings with trash chutes, you should be super thankful, as those are few and far between here in Seoul.
So let me start by saying, if you use the wrong trash bag or put don’t dispose of your trash properly, you will be caught (CCTV is everywhere here – so big brother is watching) and you will be fined. They will find you. With that being said, let me give you some info on how to be a nice law abiding citizen
This is the General Waste area in our building. Here are the things you need to know:
1. General waste is considered anything that can’t be recycles and isn’t food waste.
2. General waste must be put into an approved trash bag which states it is for the Yongsan-gu office. These bags can be purchased when you are at the grocery store or at a neighboring convenience store. A 50 liter bag cost us 900 won and a grocery store sized bag cost us 360 won.
This is what the Food waste disposal area looks like. Basically anything that is food needs to be tossed into a bag and kept separately from all other garbage. Most people keep a bag in the freezer, to keep it from smelling. We also have a little disposal attached to our sink that dehydrates and grinds up food that goes into the sink. This is really a pain in the tush and will definitely take some time to get used to.
Finally, there is recycling. Koreans take recycling to a whole different level. You can’t just take a bag of recyclables downstairs and toss it. You have to sort your recyclables into Paper, Glass, Can/Scrap Iron, Vinyl, Plastic, Styrofoam, Fluorescent lights, and Batteries. Each type of recyclable has its own little area.
They even have a bin for recycling clothing.
And used cooking oil!
It is nice to see that Koreans are conscious of the environment and the disposal of their garbage and preservation of their natural resources, however, it is definitely a lot more involved process than we are used to coming from the US. Wish us luck and that we don’t get any fines!