[EDITORIALS]More to be done on food wasteOne week has passed since a regulation went into effect barring cities’ food waste from landfills. It is a relief that the regulation has taken effect, because fewer garbage trucks are being turned away from landfills. When a truck brings in food waste along with other household waste, it is turned away.
But the problem remains that food waste standards vary from region to region. And when landfills decide to check all trucks, instead of the random checking done now, there is the possibility that they will start to turn many trucks away again. Therefore, municipal authorities should take necessary action now.
The new regulation seeks to reduce the amount of food waste by recycling some of it as compost or burning it at a separate food waste management facility; these can be effective ways to keep food waste from becoming a source of pollution as it decays. This means sufficient waste management facilities are needed.
Currently, food waste from urban areas amounts to around 11,147 tons per day. The nation’s 262 facilities can handle 11,335 tons of waste. But the facilities’ average working ratio is about 80 percent, which means that about 3,000 tons of food waste is left untreated every day. The government says the remainder is burned or used as animal feed, but it is clear that the facilities’ capacity needs to be expanded.
People are complaining that there is no uniform standard for food waste. No wonder a man from one region protested, “How come pepper seeds and green onion roots are not food waste, while tangerine peels are? What is the standard? I spent the entire day just sitting and classifying all of the food waste in my house.”
The government should not leave the question of standards to individual districts. The Enviornment Ministry should compel all districts to follow a uniform standard. We are not saying that it should be an unrealistically strict standard. But it should be devised in such a way that families will not find it difficult to take out the trash.
Food waste costs the nation up to 15 trillion won ($14.3 billion) annually. We should be leading more temperate lives when there are neighbors in need, including North Koreans who are starving. It is of the utmost importance that each home and restaurant be careful not to generate too much food waste in the first place. No more food should be prepared than necessary.