Recycling is An monumental An factor of dwelling in Korea.
But solely A third of the recyclable plastic waste from homes and workplaces in Korea is reborn as ancompletely different plastic product.
The Ministry of Environment found that Of three.23 million tons of plastic disposed in 2018, round 1.45 million tons, or 44.9 %, was recycled. The remaining have been incinerated or buried. Of the plastic waste recycled, solely 466,000 tons have been truly reborn as plastic items.
To Search out out extra about how plastic waste will get recycled in Korea, the JoongAng Ilbo Hung out with some recycling corporations for the previous few weeks, following their assortment, re-group, disposal and recycling of plastic waste.
On the morning of June 19, a garbage truck stood parked by the waste piled up at an house complicated in Yeongdeungpo District, western Seoul.
Over the interval Of some days, the refacetnts had separated their recyclable waste by varieties – plastic bottles, used plastic luggage and wrapping, paper waste, glass bottles and completely differents.
However with Simply one truck To collect All of them, the recycles acquired mixed up as quickly as dumped infacet the truck.
“The quantity of trash collected per house complicatedes can differ, and A pair of of them have Little or no, so we can’t afford to ship a quantity of vans Immediately To these places,” a worker for a recycling assortment agency informed the JoongAng Ilbo.
The trash is typeed as quickly as it arrives at a typeing center.
One such center in Gimpo, Gyeonggi, re-types some 32 tons of plastic waste Daily, collected from homes and smaller refacetntial buildings in its space.
When the JoongAng Ilbo visited The center on June 11, plastic waste of All varieties was piled up twice The measurement of an grownup man. The pile moved slowly on a conveyer belt, and workers typeed plastic by type.
Every worker, standing on the both facet of the conveyor belt, skillfully picked out PET bottles, yogurt containers and non-plastic waste mixed in, placing everyskinnyg in an astypement of bins.
“It seems Many people don’t understand which trash is recyclable and Which Isn’t,” said Kim Hong-sub, supervisor of The center. “Greater than 30 % of the trash that comes by way of right here is not recyclable, so we ship it off to be incinerated.”
Based mostly on the Ministry of Environment, round 46.4 % of plastic waste collected On these recycling facilities is not recyclable and Finally ends up being incinerated or buried.
A huge confusion exists round makgeolli (rice-based alcoholic drink) bottles. Lots of them are coloured plastic bottles, That are unrecyclable in Korea. Based mostly on Korea Zero Waste Movement Community, a civic group for waste administration, as many as 60 corporations are presently manufacturing makgeolli in coloured bottles.
Two corporations Try someskinnyg new. In April, Daehan Flour Mills and Hangang Brewery launched makgeolli in clear plastic bottles, which Might be recycled.
“We opted To make the most of clear plastic bottles, And notably Those wright here labels can come off cleanly,” said Koh Sung-yong, CEO of Hangang Brewery. “Tright here’s this widespread notion that environmentally-nice plastic bottles Might be Costlier – but we found that was not the case. The clear ones value Regarding the identical As a Outcome of the coloured ones.”
Only clear plastic bottles, rid of their labels, Might be shredded into skinny so-referred to as plastic flakes. These Can be make the most ofd to create new plastic items.
“The PET bottles Want to be label-much less to be utterly recyclable,” said Kwon Doo-yeong, who heads a recycling center in Gimpo. “We now have A delegated space On The center wright here The workers work on detaching the labels.”
What makes their work notably troublesome, Kwon said, is the tendency of some people to throw away plastic waste with stuff nonethemuch less infacet.
“If a plastic bottle Full of olive oil comes by way of, and a worker misses it, the bottle will burst Wiskinny The tactic of shredding, ruining any probability for the plastic bottles round it to be reborn,” Kwon said.
Plastic luggage are ancompletely different supply for recycled items.
One recycling center in Paju, Gyeonggi, takes the plastic luggage thrown away by 600,000 households in Goyang, Gyeonggi, and turns them into plastic pellets. The pellets Might be melted to create plastic items.
“Typically The baggage Embrace hen bones or completely different perished meals infacet,” said Yoo Chang-bum, head of a recycling agency that runs The center in Paju. “Plastic luggage Which have mayonnaise or gochujang [scorching pepper previouse] smeared on them Aren’t recyclable.”
Kwon, Yoo, and The completely different heads of the recycling facilities agreed that Korea wants a extra systematic strategy to recycling.
“For the cycle of recycling to work, We’d Simply like the federal authorities to set The guidelines, for extra corporations to be licensed To fabricate merchandise from plastic waste, And native authoritiess ought to pitch in by buying for these re-born plastic items,” said Nam Soon-woo, head of An group that manufactures plastic gardening gear and completely different items from used plastic luggage.
Tright here’s additionally ongoing evaluation at institutes in Korea on producing gasoline from used plastic waste. The Sudokwon Landfill Website Management introduced in June that it started a research on the know-how.
What people can do, In the meantime, is To imagine about emptying the contents of the plastic luggage and bottles earlier than throwing them into their bins.
BY KANG CHAN-SU,CHUN KWON-PIL AND JEONG JONG-HUN [[email protected]]