Korea tip of the day photo

(Stripes Korea)

In South Korea, residents living off-post are required to comply with government regulations regarding trash disposal. Failure to comply may result in fines of up to 1 million won. When moving into a new place, inquire with your landlord for guidelines as waste management practices can differ depending on the houses, each with its designated waste disposal site.

- NOTICE: Off-post residents are strictly prohibited from disposing of trash in on-post dumpsters.

Garbage bags

General and food waste disposal require the use of designated plastic garbage bags which are available for purchase in various sizes at grocery and convenience stores. Note that these bags are only valid within the district they are purchased as each district has its own designated bags.

Trash types

- General waste

All non-recyclables and non-food waste.

- Garbage bags: 5L–75L (Between130 won to 2,000 won)

- Food waste

In most cases, food waste requires the use of purchased garbage bags. However, some apartments may collect food waste without using garbage bags. Food waste is utilized to make animal feed or bio gas, so it’s important to sort them properly from inedible items such as tea bags, bones, seeds, hard fruit peels like pineapple, onion skins, corn silk, shells (egg shell, nutshell, seashell and more), toxic items like globe-fish toxin that must be disposed as general waste.

- Garbage bags: 1.5L to 20L (Between 40 won to 500 won)

- Recyclables

Sort recyclables based on the available recycling bins at waste disposal sites. If bins aren’t installed at the disposal site, use transparent plastic bags. Ensure items are empty, clean, and free of labels or lids before disposal.

- Paper: Including boxes, newspapers, printer paper, flyers and paper cups.

- Glass: Should be empty and cleaned out.

- Metal/Cans: Crush cans, pierce gas-containing canisters and separate plastic lids.

- Plastic: Dispose of heavily contaminated containers with general waste.

- Vinyl: Remove stickers. Contaminated items should go into general waste.

- Clothing: Donation bins in residential areas accept clothes, curtains, bags and shoes. Severely damaged items should be discarded in general waste.

- Large size waste

Large waste disposal stickers are required when disposing of electronics, furniture and other large items. These stickers cost between 2,000 to 20,000 won, depending on the size and weight of the item. For example, suitcases may cost 2,000 won and pianos could be around 15,000 won. If you reside in an apartment, check with the security office first as they may handle disposal for residents.

Once you obtain the sticker, you should arrange pickup service. Then, attach the sticker visibly to the item and dispose of it in the designated site or in front of your house. Stickers are often stolen, so cover them with tape and take a photo as proof. Also, keep the purchase receipt.

- How to get stickers

• Community Service Center or District Office: Visit the nearest district office (9 a.m.–6 p.m. Mon.–Fri.), provide item details and your address for pick-up when purchasing the sticker.

• Convenience stores or supermarkets: Not all, but many stores sell these stickers. Staff can show you a chart of the items and assist with selection. Call the number on the sticker to arrange pick-up.

• Online: Visit your district office website and search for “대형폐기물” (Large waste) in Korean. Select the item, purchase and print the sticker. However, you may need assistance from a local as it’s only available in Korean and a Korean bank account is required.

• Free pickup service for electronic waste: This service is only available for electronics, not furniture. For small items, pick-up requires at least five items. You can arrange for pick-up via website and phone, but it’s only available in Korean.

– Phone: 1599-0903 (8 a.m.– 6 p.m. Mon.–Fri.)

– Online: https://www.15990903.or.kr/portal/main/main.do

(File photo)

Speakin’ Korean: Bullisugeo haeya–dwae

- Garbage: Sseu-le-gi (쓰레기)

- Food waste: Eum-sik-mul sseu-le-gi (음식물 쓰레기)

- Large size waste: Daehyeong-pyegimul (대형폐기물)

- Recycle: Jae-hwal-yong (재활용)

- Separate trash: Bullisugeo (분리수거)

- Garbage bag: Sseu-le-gi bongtu (쓰레기 봉투)

- Trash can: Sseu-le-gi-tong (쓰레기통)

- Please give me a garbage bag: Sseu-le-gi bongtu juseyo (쓰레기봉투 주세요)

- Please give me food waste bags: Eum-sik-mul sseu-le-gi bongtu juseyo. (음식물 쓰레기봉투 주세요)

- Please give me a large waste disposal sticker: Daehyeong-pyegimul sticker juseyo (대형폐기물 스티커 주세요)

- Please give me a bigger size: Deo keun geollo juseyo (더 큰 걸로 주세요)

Speakin’ Korean illustration by Hyemin Lee

(Illustration by Hyemin Lee)

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