Waste Management in South Korea

Recyclables, however, are exempt from the charge and just need to be segregated.

When the PAYT was first implemented, people started to throw their trash in public bins to avoid charges. To counteract this, the government greatly reduced public bins as well. Citizens started to carry around their own little plastic bags to keep their trash in and throw away later. When foreigners visit Seoul, they are often perplexed and feel a little inconvenienced by the lack of garbage bins. The PAYT system is the reason why there aren’t many available, and I hope that after reading this, instead of thinking of it as an inconvenience, people will reflect on their own waste disposal habits. Additionally, continuous public awareness on waste management fosters good habits among citizens. 

Is this need being met? How?:

According to my research, after the implementation of the PAYT, waste generation dropped by almost 18% and recycling increased to 24%. Food waste management has also gone a long way. Currently, food waste is processed into animal feed or compost, or else it is generated into electricity. The government has set a goal of 3% landfill rate and an 87% recycling rate by 2020.

I’ve heard some people complain that the streets are still dirty, although to me, they are cleaner than what I’m used to. After all, waste management is a two-way street! Our actions and responsibilities as residents or etiquette as visitors is crucial.

(Where I improved my knowledge on Korea's trash collection: https://medium.com/@vinceau/dont-talk-trash-about-south-korea-s-waste-ma...)