Have any of your foreign friends living in Korea ever been fined for not disposing of trash properly? Did you know that you have to pay a fine if you throw away food after it has been delivered? In Korea, you cannot freely throw away trash, and you must dispose of trash in an appropriate manner to avoid fines.
However, most foreigners coming to Korea for the first time are unlikely to know much about how to properly dispose of trash. So this time, I would like to introduce you to the rules for disposing of trash in Korea. Please refer to this sentence and follow the correct way to dispose of your waste!
How to throw away trash
In Korea, waste must be collected separately by material and disposed of in volume-rate bags. Pay-as-you-go bags are priced differently depending on the amount of waste, and can be purchased at convenience stores, marts, and supermarkets. There are different types of volume-rate bags, including general waste, food waste, and bulk waste, and each color and size is different. Garbage that cannot be placed in volume-rate bags is classified as a recyclable resource and must be disposed of in a separate manner.
Recyclable resources include paper, plastic, glass, cans, iron, and clothes, and the separation method for each material is different. Here's how to separate waste:
Paper: Be careful not to let paper get wet, flatten it, tie it and dispose of it. Dispose of waste paper and milk cartons separately. Tear the milk carton with scissors, etc., clean the inside, dry it, and dispose of it separately. Please dispose of plastic-coated flyers, heavily soiled paper cups, and delivery boxes with tape or invoices in a volume-based bag.
Plastics: Rinse plastics with water to remove foreign substances on the surface and dispose of them. Remove the plastic label from the plastic bottle, crush it, close the lid, and dispose of it. Dispose of products that contain multiple materials and are difficult to separate, such as pill packaging materials, cassette tapes, disposable coffee cups, and cosmetic containers, in a volume-based bag.
Glass bottles: Empty glass bottles cleanly without any foreign substances before disposing of them. There is no need to remove the cap or label. Mirrors, broken glass, ceramics, glass tableware, fluorescent lights, light bulbs, etc. are not glass bottles, so please dispose of them in volume-based bags or special gunny bags.
Cans: Rinse the inside of cans with water, then step on them to flatten them and dispose of them. Since butane gas and aerosol products have a risk of explosion, make a hole in the can body to discharge them.
Iron: Rinse iron with water to remove any foreign substances, and dry before disposing to prevent rust. Place small iron items such as wire, nails, tools, etc. in a bag before disposing of them.
Clothing: Do not dispose of clothing with contaminants still on. Take it to a clothing collection box or recycling center. At clothing collection boxes or recycling centers, you can exchange your clothes for toilet paper or pay-as-you-go bags.
Starting in 2022, there will be several changes in waste separation methods. Here's what's changing:
New coating and pasting mark: A new coating and pasting mark will be added to products that cannot be recycled because two substances are mixed. Products with this mark can simply be disposed of in a volume-rate bag. All products marked with a general separate recycling symbol rather than a spray-and-stick symbol can be collected separately.
Change in labeling to focus on discharge method: Previously, only labeling was done by discharge material, but from 2022, labeling will be changed to focus on how to discharge. The size of the disposal label is also enlarged and instructions on how to dispose of it are written in Korean at the bottom, allowing for intuitive and easy separation.
In case of violation, a fine of 300,000 won is imposed: If you are caught not properly separating waste, a fine of 300,000 won will be imposed. In order to save my precious 300,000 won, I need to separate waste properly, right?