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  • Seoul Metropolitan Government Aspires to be the World’s Top City in Recycling

  • Environment & Energy news SMG 4235


    Seoul Metropolitan Government announced on May 22 a plan for the improvement of the garbage recycling system for private houses and small-sized apartment complexes and cooperation with large-sized distribution centers and schools concerning garbage collection. It includes a plan to raise the percentage of recycling of waste resources from the current 45.9% to 66% by 2030.

    Neighborhood places for collection of recycling garbage

    The number of senior citizens collecting waste paper and boxes to earn money stands at 13,000 in Seoul. Collecting recycling waste using a hand cart is dangerous and difficult be it in back alleys or thoroughfares, yet they earn only 400,000 won a month in return for eight-hour labor a day.

    For these senior citizens, Seoul Metropolitan Government will start operating neighborhood places for the collection of recycling garbage. Under the plan, garbage collection places will be operated at a preset hour such as public parking lots, vacant lots, or playgrounds so that local residents may dispose of recyclable garbage. Senior citizens will be asked to carry the collected garbage to a designated place and will be paid for such work. The new system will save senior citizens the trouble of moving heavy hand carts piled with paper boxes in dangerous streets.

    Seoul Metropolitan Government will find and designate appropriate places as “neighborhood places for the collection of recycling garbage” during the six-month trial period (June ~ December 2013) in each autonomous district. Seongbuk-Gu already started the scheme in May, and Guro-gu will start it in June.

    Operation of system of paying for recycling garbage

    With regard to the aforesaid system of designating neighborhood places for the collection of recycling garbage, Seoul Metropolitan Government will help establish cooperatives for senior citizens engaging in such activities and pay for recycling garbage collected by them. Under the new system, senior citizens are guaranteed to receive a given level of compensation even if the market price for such recycling garbage (e.g., vinyl, glass bottles, and styrofoam) drops drastically.

    Plans to reduce waste occurring in public institutions, large-sized distribution centers, and schools

    Seoul Metropolitan Government will strive to reduce the use of the plastic trash bags currently used under the pay-per-bag trash system by more than half. It will also make the marking of the name of the disposer on the surface of the plastic trash bag mandatory to reinforce accountability. Seoul Metropolitan Government will sign MOUs with large-sized distribution centers such as Lotte Mart, Home Plus, Lotte Department Store, and Hanaro Mart for close cooperation on matters related to trash. Commercial establishments complying with Seoul Metropolitan Government’s efforts to reduce trash will be given the certification mark as those disposing of no waste, including diverse incentives. Exemplary schools in resource recycling will be designated in conjunction with the need to separate recyclables from ordinary household trash. Programs for environmental education including trash recycling and hands-on experience will also be operated.

    Seoul Metropolitan Government to distribute 20ℓ waste vinyl bags for free to households

    For waste vinyl, which accounts for 25% of trash disposed of in the plastic trash bags currently used under the pay-per-bag trash system, Seoul Metropolitan Government will distribute 20-liter plastic bags for such specific trash for free to private houses and small-sized apartment complexes under the sponsorship of POSCO ENERGY. Waste vinyl is recyclable, but many households dispose of it in ordinary trash bags because they are not aware of such fact.

    Recycling paper packs to be paid for; used batteries to be collected at schools

    Seoul Metropolitan Government will adopt a measure for encouraging the more positive collection of paper packs and used batteries. As part of such measure, waste paper packs will be paid for with toilet papers or plastic trash bags at dong offices. The new system will be adopted in all autonomous districts starting in 2014 after a trial operation in some districts this year.

    Students will be encouraged to bring used batteries left at their homes to school, with Seoul Metropolitan Government collecting them on a monthly basis in cooperation with the Seoul Resource Center and the Korea Battery Recycling Association.

    Used large-sized household appliances to be collected for free

    Seoul Metropolitan Government will operate the system of collecting used large-sized household appliances free more positively as the local government that adopted the system ahead of others, based on the commitment to being the world’s top city even in said sector. Seoul Metropolitan Government will also establish the Seoul Resource Center dedicated to the recycling of small-sized household appliances. Under an agreement signed with 18,000 households in seven apartment complexes, Seoul Metropolitan Government is implementing a program to pay for the collected waste large-sized household appliances. It is also operating a program for the collection of used cell phones using collection boxes in subway stations, schools, religious facilities, and post offices.