Formerly known as "Cruzers in Korea"

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Recycling in Korea

Wednesday, January 20, 2010
Man, we only think we recycle a lot in the United States.  We've got nothing on Korea.  They recycle everything here!  Back in the US, our family probably went through 4 or 5 kitchen sized garbage bags of trash every week.  We were some trash producing fools!  Because of all the recycling that's done here in Korea, we might produce one bag of trash every two or three weeks.  It's amazing.  They even have special bags you have to buy to throw out trash that you can't recycle.  By forcing you to purchase the special bags, it gives you some motivation to recycle.  Besides, it's the law to recycle.

These are pics from our apartment's recycling center.  Most apartment complexes have trash/recycling areas like this.  They even have a "recycling dude" that hangs out in the room to make sure you're putting stuff in the right bins.  I think that's what he's doing anyway.  What the heck do I know.  He might be collecting styrofoam peanuts for all I know.  We don't have one of those guys looking over our shoulder in our apartment yet, which is a good thing.  The sorting of all the recyclables takes a little bit of getting used to.  I'm still not sure if we're sorting correctly.  We divide our stuff up into the following categories:   



Plastic -  grocery bags, food and container wrappers, potato chip bags, etc

Metal - aluminum cans, steel, metal hangers, foil, etc

More plastic - even divided up into different colored plastics and types

Food waste.  Ugh!

Momma looks good even when recycling.  Be thankful that you can't smell the funky odors coming from that food waste container.  It's like a combination of wet dog, kim chi and burnt panther.  That's Carol's funky smell smile just so you know.  

Recycling is expected at restaurants too.  Check out the trash and recycling setup at McDonald's.  You don't just dump everything all together like in the US.

Taking the recycling down to the recycling center is now one of CJ's regular tasks.  He does a pretty good job with it.  He used to complain about it but then he remembered that I don't like complaining and that he doesn't like going to bed at a ridiculously early hour on the weekend.

It seems as if many things in Korea are designed so that less trash is produced.  Instead of big old napkins being on restaurant tables, they put out very small and thin napkins (think toilet paper).  They have these small steel water cups in a lot of eating establishments that helps lessen the amount of trash.  With so many people in Korea in tight spaces, every bit of conservation and recycling helps.  I wonder how long it'll be before the US is forced to adopt some of these same recycling practices?

We're still gonna recycle when we get back to the US, but it's also gonna be really nice to just throw out some regular old trash without a bunch of sorting.  Can't wait.  Until next time -- C2



very interesting.

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