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S. Korea deals with ongoing 'waste chaos' linked to recycling issues Updated: 2018-04-12 18:22:17 KST

The so-called 'waste chaos' in South Korea started earlier this month when recycling collectors refused to take plastic bags, plastic bottles, and even styrofoam.
Responding to public concern over the growing piles of trash, the Ministry of Environment says it's persuaded the 48 main recycling collectors in Seoul to resume their normal service.

"There may be some confusion over recycling for another couple of days, but we foresee everything returning to normal in due time."

The capital has some 3-thousand residential complexes, and collection of some items was stopped at around 16-hundred of them.
A recent site survey by the ministry found that there are still 348 locations where it's yet to resume.

With waste being produced every day and piling up outside homes, it’s becoming an increasingly pressing task for the government to come up with more than just a quick-fix to the issue.

The root cause of the problem: China has banned the import of 24 kinds of solid waste, declaring last July it will no longer be the "world's garbage dump." In less than a year, the value of recyclables dropped from 130 won, or 12 U.S. cents, per kilogram, to 90 won, or 8 cents, as of last month.
This has discouraged recycling collectors from processing materials that are no longer lucrative. According to Greenpeace, China used to import some 56-percent of the world's waste, including South Korea's.

As a temporary solution, recycling collectors got compensation to resume their services.
But the government is also working to improve Korea's recycling industry overall.
Discussions are being held to come up with specific policies on the basis of thorough on-site inspections, which will continue until mid-June.

Lee Jeong-yeon, Arirang News
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