Current status of recycling
In 2011, the total amount of waste produced in Seoul was 39,464 ton/day (10.6% of the entire nation): domestic waste 9,440 ton/day (24%), construction waste 28,179 ton/day (71%), and industrial waste 1,844 ton/day (5%).
Recyclable wastes produced at home and commercial places are sent to junk shops and district recycling stations for reuse. And the rest are either incinerated or buried. While policies promoting recycling of resources increased the rate of incineration, the rate of landfills went down. A rapid drop of food garbage caused the rate of recycling to go down.
Plans to encourage recycling
「Recycling Stations」 near residential areas: Recycle bins stationed at designated places
Under this project, residents are encouraged to bring out their wastes including papers, PETs, and metals, at a specific time, and sort them out in the recycle bins stationed at public parking lots, empty lots, and play grounds.
Senior citizens who make their living by collecting and selling recyclable wastes are assigned to take care of the waste collection process. All the recyclable wastes are sold to companies devoted to recycling. The companies give money to the senior citizens in charge in return for the recycled wastes.
「Zero-waste project」 for public institutions, large distribution centers, and schools which produce a large amount of waste
(Reduce the number of volume-rated waste bags by half; Assign large retailers as ‘Zero-waste store’)
The city government took the initiative in reducing the number of volume-rated waste bags by more than 50% and holding municipal officials more responsible by instructing them to write their names on the waste bag. Furthermore, the city hall will guide officials in every department to get more involved in recycling and to remove all the personal trash cans. Every quarter, each department will be evaluated whether it has actively participated in recycling. Any department which broke the rules will be given a warning.
Plans to encourage recycling
As for large distribution centers, over-packaging often has negative impact on the quality of recyclable goods. Thus, it is important to maintain the quality of these recyclable goods and to discourage the centers from adding stickers or labels on plastic covers to publicize their products. This is because stickers also disable consumers from recycling. Schools will sign MOU contracts with the Ministry of Education and carry out pilot ‘resource recycling training programs’ in cooperation with social enterprises.
Free pick-up service for big electronic wastes, Make use of SR-centers to increase the recycling rate of electronics
Under the free pick-up service, provided for the first time in history, the government plans to ensure that 90% of refrigerators are preserved, compared to the current 20%, and that 17 million tons of greenhouse gases are reduced.
The city hopes to become number one in recycling electronic goods. To do so, it is going to make sure that the pick-up service firmly takes root in the nation and that SR-centers will be operated to a full extent.
Prior to the pick-up service, only 20% of refrigerators were preserved. This was because people who did not want to be charged for the disposal of electronic wastes illegally threw away their appliances. However, thanks to the service, the rate has risen up to 90% and with the decline of refrigerant leakages, environmental pollution has been reduced dramatically.
Along with the reuse of resources, the collection of metals including iron, copper, and aluminum has led to the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions by 1700 tons, equivalent to 220 TOE. As a result, the ‘One Less Nuclear Power Plant Project’ showed some progress. Futhermore, the city has founded Ecocity Co., Ltd.(SR-center), a social enterprise, to promote the recycling of electronic wastes. Recycling 3,000 tons of small electronics and 300,000 cell phones is a goal for this year alone.
Department / Contact
- Global Urban Partnership Division / 82-2-2133-5376 / firstname.lastname@example.org
- Megacity Research Center / 82-2-2149-1418 / email@example.com