Food trash overflows as contract fights linger
Though it was very cold, a nauseating odor of rotting food could be smelled from 30 feet away.
“The food waste management company hasn’t removed the food since Jan. 1,” said Lee Jong-oe, 59, a security guard there. “They only cleaned up some waste off the ground.”
There was a similar situation at the Prugio Apartments in Yeongdeungpo District, western Seoul. All of the containers were overflowing with rotting food, and residents in the area held their noses every time they passed the area.
“Though we take out our food trash, we don’t have a place to put it,” Kim Ok-ja, 65, complained.
Many areas in Seoul are having trouble managing food waste.
Food waste management companies are battling with district offices over renewing contracts, so many Seoul citizens are forced to smell rotting food.
“The food waste management company demanded we pay 127,000 won [$120] per ton of food waste,” said Lee Bong-seon, PR director of the Yangcheon District Office.
“Last year’s fee was 74,000 won per ton. They usually pick up food waste every day, but now do it only two or three times a week after we turned down their offer.”
The Seocho District Office in southern Seoul made a one-month temporary contract with a food waste management company at a price of 82,200 won, the price they paid last year.
“We wish we could appease their demands, but we have to provide an additional 3.5 billion won,” said Jin Ik-chul, head of the Seocho District Office. “We will renegotiate the fee after we study the appropriate price.”
Seocho paid 4.5 billion won for food waste management last year.
Food waste management companies claimed that the recent regulation change on food waste disposal caused additional cost.
“We need to increase the fees because we have to provide facilities or make an additional contract that will dispose of waste water oozing out of food waste as the law has prevented us from dumping waste water into the ocean since Jan. 1.”
By Yoo Seong-woon, Cho Han-dae [firstname.lastname@example.org]