In the past, a fixed fee was charged on the basis of property tax, regardless of the actual volume of wastes generated. The Ministry of the Environment is now collecting fees for waste treatment calculated on the basis of the volume of wastes generated.
To encourage waste reduction
Scope and Coverage
Households are also required to separate non-recyclable garbage from recyclable garbage. The plastic bags are used for disposing of domestic wastes only and not for recyclables (paper, bottles, cans, and large-sized wastes (i.e. furniture, electronic appliances etc.) In order to make household's waste separation easier, manufacturers are required to indicate which products are recyclable.
The amount of domestic waste generated can be measured by the volume of the official plastic trash bags used by all Korean households.
Each municipality sets the price of the official trash bags for its jurisdiction, making the the price of the bag different in each region.
Monitoring and Enforcement
Plastic bags are available in different sizes (5l, 10l, 20l, 30l, 50l, 75l, 100l) All households and invidual consumers who need to discard waste must purchase the official plastic trash bag. It is now illegal in Korea to use any other type of bag; negligence fines are imposed on anyone who violates the law.
Allocation of Revenues
No direct government support is given to recycling companies; however, long-term loans for technology development and the establishment of facilities are provided at lower-interest. Moreover, plastic wastes are recycled by the Korean Resources Recovery and Reutilization Corporation.
Hong (1999) found that after the adoption of this unit-pricing system, waste dropped from 58,118 tons per day to 47,774 tons per day (a deline of 17.8% that year), and recyclables increased from 8,927 tons per day to 11,322 tons per day (an increase of 26.8%). He calculates a price elasticity of -0.154.
Ministry of the Environment, Republic of Korea. "Waste Management. Environmnetal Protection. Seoul: 1995.
Hong, 1999. The Effects of Unit Pricing System upon Household Solid Waste Management: The Korean Experience. Journal of Environmental Management, 57, 1