As part of our new teacher orientation this past week, we were briefed on how to take out the garbage here in our new apartment….and the explanation took a lot longer than you would expect! Korea has an extensive system for refuse removal that includes all kinds of sorting and color coding. Here are the basics…
Recycling: There are three different bins at the end of our apartment complex, one for cardboard/paper, one for cans/aluminum, and one for plastics.
Food Waste: Any and all food products get put in a special food waste bin that has a levered lid. We bought a special lidded container to keep under our sink so we can dispose of our compost materials before taking them out.
Clothes: On the street there are large green boxes that look a lot like mailboxes. Don’t put your mail in them though! Instead, these bins are where we recycle used clothing that we no longer want.
Garbage: All regular trash (aka anything small you didn’t put in any of those other bins) must be put into pink garbage bags that you purchase at any grocery store and placed in the green dumpster.
Large Items: Stuff that is too big to fit into one of the pink garbage bags must be picked up separately and a fee needs to be paid to cover the cost of the pick-up service. So if we have anything large that needs to be thrown out, we leave it with the guard of our apartment complex and have the school contact the city to set up a pick-up time.
It all seems a bit confusing right now, but I’m sure we’ll get used to it quickly. In the meantime, we really need to buy some garbage cans and figure out a system for sorting our recyclables here in the apartment so it is easier to put them in the bins outside!