Household Rubbish in South Korea

When I arrived, I came to quickly realise that waste and recycling is taken seriously here. Each area has council rubbish bags that can be purchased at the local convenience stores and supermarkets. One for general rubbish and one for food waste. Everything else needs to be recycled. I had to look up online what was considered waste and food waste as I wasn’t given any information.

I did find this useful table from another district which I have been using. The items considered as food waste are quite different from food waste back home when the local council rolled out a trial food waste program. Food waste recycling is still not widespread in council areas back home. This has taken me some getting use to!

Everything else that can’t go into food waste or be recycled is general waste. So once you’ve filled your food and general waste bags, you leave them out on the curb to be picked up. Yes, that’s right! There is no bigger bin that you through your bags into, just simply tie your bag up and leave them out after 8pm. There are some rules around this, I’ve read that some districts have certain days of the week and there’s also times when you should be placing your rubbish out.
Rubbish bag
Food waste bag

Next up is the recycling. In my building there is a recycling area with bags already there. You just need to separate everything into the allotted bag. I have seen a clothes bin outside as well as a container of batteries too. The items that are recycled are the following:

Back in Australia, our recycling bin was just everything that could be recycled mixed together into the one wheelie bin (so paper, cans, bottles and hard plastics). For soft plastics and bags, you had to be take these to the supermarket again if you want them recycled. Now that I’m writing this, I can see how much our recycling program back home is lacking and not that accessible!

I’m still getting use to the rubbish situation but hope I’ll get to use to it in no time. How does this waste program differ from yours?

Building recycling

18 thoughts on “Household Rubbish in South Korea

  1. What an extensive system for getting rid of waste! Similarly, Korea’s system really puts the US’s to shame. I do my best to separate recyclables from other wastes, but even then, I find myself being lazy at times and not doing a good job. Time to up my game here in my home country!

  2. Wow. We have much to learn from them. But how do they deal with the rubbish on the streets? Are rats eating through the plastic bag at night??? Before it was collected? I think of the crows around here and the new they make, if someone overfills their wheelie bin leaving the lid ajar.

    1. Not that I’ve seen. The bags are quite thick and can be tied from all 4 ends at the top. There are also no crows or any other bird. There are no public rubbish bins on the street which probably helps.

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