In 2013, a radio-frequency identification (RFID)-based centralized system of food waste collection was introduced to several apartments in Songpa, Seoul. Each resident has a unique RFID tag, which they use when depositing food waste at one of the hundreds of collection points. If residents put food into the machines, they will pay the cost according to the weighing of food.
About 4,000 RFID collection points had been installed in apartment complexes and 2,000 in non-apartment residential neighbourhoods in four years. In 2017, according to Songpa District authorities, the system had reduced food waste by a total of 36,000 tonnes, or 25 percent of what was being thrown out in 2012, and achieved 7 billion won in budget savings.
However, some people think the solution likes RFID just deal with the result of the food waste rather than the reason.
Lee Seok-kil of Korea Food Recycling Association said: “The decrease of food waste is not related to RFID which is another method to deal with the existing waste.”
He said that the best way to solve this issue is education. “For instance, customers purchase too much food to eat, finally they only can throw the rest food away. According to the Korean culture, restaurants will offer many banchan to clients. In other countries, clients must pay the extra cost for banchan, however, they needn’t pay the cost in Korea. We need more publicity to change this culture, but I don’t think the government has done enough on that front yet.”
The most effective way to solve the food waste issue is to avoid the fridge-to-bin phenomenon by buying only as much as you’re likely to eat. Clients can also take the rest food to home and eat later. This is more and more common and is generally welcomed.