Monday, January 16, 2006

South Korea - rubbish bag prices to rise 40%

The government of South Korea has decided to raise the prices of plastic garbage bags by some 40% over the next three years to encourage businesses and households to generate less waste.The Korea Times reports that the Ministry of Environment said on that the price of a 20-litre plastic garbage bag for household use would increase to an average of 540 won (55 cents) by 2008 from the current 384 won. Korean households and businesses are required to purchase and use specific garbage bags issued by their respective municipal governments when disposing waste. They also need to separate recyclable items from conventional waste that are put into the garbage bags and buried in landfills.

Local governments set their own prices for garbage bags whose colors and designs are different from one municipality to another. The bags issued by a certain municipal government cannot be used in other cities and provinces. Meanwhile, the ministry said South Korea has saved a total of 7.7 trillion won on waste disposal costs over the past decade when the government introduced the current volume-rate garbage disposal system. The country has also earned 311 billion won from recycling various items over the same period, according to the ministry. It said Korea's daily per-capita waste generation decreased 23 percent to 1.03 kilograms in 2004 from 1.33 kilograms in 1994, while the amount of recycling rose 175 percent.The per-capita figure is less than the average of Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) member nations as citizens in 30 countries generated a daily average of 1.56 kilograms of waste per person. The ministry says the majority of Koreans are satisfied with the effectiveness of the volume-rate garbage disposal system in reducing the amount of waste. In a survey of 700 respondents nationwide, about 85 percent gave positive responses on the system, while 10 percent disapproved of it.The ministry says a substantial number of households, particularly in rural areas, still illegally incinerate and dump garbage to avoid paying for the garbage bags. It plans to improve the current reward system for those who report illegal activities regarding waste disposal, and encourage municipal governments to computerize garbage collection and disposal procedures.

From ResourceNotWaste

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