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South Korea Experiences Success with Pay-As-You-Go Food Disposal

  • 06
  • 05
  • 2016

The South Korean government is on a mission to cut down the exorbitant amount of food waste. Officials have put their heads together to come up with some creative ideas in order to educate the populace.

By the turn of the century, landfills in South Korea were already full and could not take on the ever-increasing supply of garbage. In fact, a large portion of the country’s food waste was treated at sewage plants and then thrown into the sea, a costly process both in terms of resources and environmental impact.

After the introduction of government policies, there has been a substantial difference in reported food waste. With the help of $150 million, which has gone into education, recycling plants and infrastructure, South Korea was able to reduce food waste by 280,000 tons between 2008 and 2014.

In 2013, the country began implementing volume-based food waste disposal systems, where a person is charged a small amount of money based on the amount of food products they throw away.

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The government claims that the purpose is to make citizens understand the negative impact of purchasing excess food. They hope to make people more accountable for their food purchases, to ensure there is less waste and to improve the environmental impact surrounding food, including production, transportation and disposal.

An innovative Korean company has jumped on the back of the food waste changes in South Korea and created a personal food waste processor for home use. The machine turns food waste into powder that can be used for fertilizer or fireplace fuel.

This company, Smart Cara, said their sales have tripled from $1 million to $3 million in the previous year, and they are aiming to double that again.

CEO Choi Ho Sik says the product has seen such success because it saves money for families in the long run, removes the embarrassment of walking through the apartment building with smelly trash and is much more convenient.

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