Wednesday, July 11, 2012

S. Korean Updates: Significant reduction of food waste through RFID system

Significant reduction of food waste through RFID system

The Ministry of Environment (Minister Yoo Young-sook) announced on the 10th the performance of pilot project for volume-based RFID system in 2012. It was shown that average of 25% of food waste has been reduced; about 190 thousand won per household.

Radio Frequency IDentification (RFID) systems which were installed at eight places for food waste disposal in 2011 were monitored for five months from January to May 2012.

The Ministry identified that minimum of 3% to maximum of 40% of food waste were cut down comparing with the last year.

Assuming that about 3.8 million won are spent for groceries per year (2011) and 20% is wasted the calculated amount is 753 thousand won. As 25% of the food wastes have been reduced, 188 thousand won are reckoned to be saved per year.

In case of Gimcheon-si where adopted the RFID system since January 2012, the amount of food waste were cut down significantly and it is shown that the system is in its stabilizing stage now without any side effects such as complaints from the local residents or illegal waste disposal.

In detail, 40% of the food waste has been reduced and the waste disposal fee has been reduced to 1/3; from 1,200 won to 3~400 won. One of the successful points is assumed to be sanitary waste disposal as the lid opens and closes automatically.

Iksan-si is also planning to implement the RFID food waste disposal system after going through stabilization phase.

Positive effects from the pilot business are expanded to the local governments where they had concerns about how to apply the volume-based food waste fee system and over 40 local governments are willing to apply the RFID system in 2013.

According to the local residents’ satisfactory survey on RFID system in 2011, 75% responded that volume-based waste fee system does help reduce food waste and only 8% responded that handling the RFID system is not easy.

The Ministry is planning to provide national funding until 2013 to support local governments’ application of the system.

The Ministry expects that the result of reduce in food waste will boost the RFID type volume-based food waste fee system to widely spread across the country.

However, as malfunction of the measuring equipment may occur, causing the local residents’ inconveniences, the Ministry asked local governments to take measures in accordance with the guidelines for dealing with civil complaints, distributed in the beginning of 2012.

Meanwhile, the Ministry has completed amending the ordinance at 126 local governments to implement volume-based food waste fee system and is planning to lay groundwork by the end of the year.

<Types of Volume-based Food Waste Fee System>

 RFID (Radio Frequency IDentification) system
: A system to check the discharger through an electronic card or tag and the system charges the fee according to the waste volume (transportation card, bill, etc.).
 Chip (or a sticker) system
: A system by which a discharger buys a payment chip or a sticker and attaches it to a collecting container for to be picked up (prepayment).
 Standard plastic garbage bag system
: A system by which a discharger buys a standard plastic garbage bag to dispose food wastes (prepayment).

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