life in korea

Ecard for Food Waste Disposal

It was December last year when the Ecard system for food waste disposal was implemented in our apartment complex here at World Cup, Sangam-dong.  I didn’t know that this system had been in place in other parts of Seoul since 2012. And since I didn’t know about it, I had a good reason to be amazed with it! There’s still the pungent smell of leftover food but no more manual opening of food waste bins for me.

 photo Collage 2016-01-12 12_35_19_zpsvpbbuzw2.jpg
Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) System

This food waste collection is called the Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) System, a government-initiated system rolled out in 2012. Each complex has this garbage bin/s and each household is provided with their respective cards (inset). The card bears your address and is connected to the billing system of each apartment complex so each household will be billed accordingly for every kilogram of food waste deposited.

How this works is this:

  • cardholder tags the card and the bin opens.
  • food is deposited and the screen tells you how much (in weight) you have deposited
  • cardholder tags the card again and the bin closes

The small screen will always show how much garbage is already deposited inside the bin so home owners would know whether the bin is full or not. Garbage collection is as efficient as the transportation system here in Seoul. These were the two things I was so impressed with the first time I lived here in Seoul 10 years ago.

The bigger inset I included above shows a tube from the bin with the other end on the soil. I assume it sucks out the moisture and deposits it directly to the soil. It’s the same with all the other bins around the complexes here. And World Cup is known for its effective landfill transformation which now generates a good energy supply and development of parks for tourism.

For a country known for beautification of its places and its people, it isn’t hard to imagine that it can monetize wastes, too. And I mean it in a good way.

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5 thoughts on “Ecard for Food Waste Disposal

  1. I first saw the machinery in Sejong City and I was so impressed by it! Truly, only in Korea! But its still crazy that some parts are so clean while other parts lack the infrastructure. In Daejeon, there were no public trash cans to be found anywhere and it really bothered me how the trash collection was done by the senior citizens of the country. But I love the color coded bags! I heard that has reduced waste by 40% when people are regulated to properly recycle and things like that!
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  2. Oh my goodness! I wish I had read this post when I first came to Korea. We have one outside our apartment and I had no idea how to use it, as it’s such a great system! Alas, 3 years later and we are about to head back home to South Africa. I guess it’s a little late now 🙂

    1. Hi Roxy, your apartment complex office will give you the card. In other officetels and service apartments, you will just have to buy the plastic bag for food wastes.

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