‘Pay As You Waste’ System Helps South Korea Cut Down On Discarded Food
Could this level of tech-assisted waste consciousness work elsewhere?
With Western countries still trying to convince citizens that ‘ugly’ produce is still perfectly edible, it seems amazing that in some countries, it is a normalized to keep track of the waste that you produce. With food waste deemed a serious problem in South Korea, municipal authorities have been using RFID technology to track who’s disposing of what—and now they’re going to make sloppy garbage sorters pay per pound, too.
In order to access the residential bins where waste is stored, Seoul residents must swipe an RFID-implanted card that establishes what individual is throwing out the waste (in the past, entire apartment buildings were tracked instead). The capacity of different garbage bags (for example, a 10-liter bag costs about 190 won, or $1) also encourages sorting. This initiative has reduced household food waste by 30% and restaurant food waste by 40%, and the diversion of food waste to landfills is now down to 3-5%.