The Seoul Metropolitan Government (SMG) conducted its citizen-participatory “Waste Diet” program over the course of three months from last September to November with an assorted group of 164 households from single-person to four-person households. Each participating household voluntarily set their own waste reduction plan and weighed the amount of their waste disposal. Experts then assessed each household’s amount of waste disposal and offered advice on how to reduce their waste disposal.
A comparison of the households’ waste disposal data collected in the first month (September) and the last month (November) of the program showed an average reduction of 40.8% (5.81 kg→3.44 kg) per capita (based on the amount of weighed trash bags).
Single-person households showed the highest reduction amount (per capita) compared to four-person households which showed a twofold difference. It was concluded that the number of household members affected the amount of waste reduction—the more, the lower. In summary, per capita waste reduction measured 5.86 kg for single-person, 4.85 kg for two-person, 3.89 kg for three-person, and 2.76 kg four-person households.
According to the participating households, many voiced their opinion that while they were successful in reducing the amount of overall waste, it was difficult to reduce the amount of single-use disposable waste. It was also said that while it was relatively viable to reduce plastic waste by using tumblers and reusable containers, it was rather difficult to reduce paper, vinyl, and styrofoam waste by oneself due to packaging materials from excessive packaging of takeouts and parcel delivery.
During the program period, participants actively shared their ideas and tips on daily waste reduction and waste separation via online forums (NAVER Band).
Meanwhile, the SMG plans to establish relevant educational courses and conduct campaigns after confirming the effectiveness of single-person households’ waste reduction through this program. The SMG also plans to conduct intensive inspection of excessive packaging with district offices to address excessive disposable waste. The goal is to create a closed-loop economy of waste reduction in the entire process from production to consumption and disposal.