In Korea, food waste, general waste and recyclable materials need to be separated. The system enables the reduction of general waste and cleaner environment. Standard PlasticGarbage Bags are used to separate the food waste and the general waste.

Standard Plastic Garbage Bags

– Food Waste: semi-transparent yellow plastic bag

– General Waste: semi-transparent white plastic bag

– Recycling Materials: no standard plastic bags are used

Volume for the Standard Plastic Garbage Bags

– General Waste: 5ℓ, 10ℓ, 20ℓ, 50ℓ

– Food Waste: 1.5ℓ, 2.5ℓ, 5ℓ, 10ℓ

Places for Dumping the Waste

– In front of the main gate if you are living in an individual house

– Specified location with garbage receptacles if you are living in an apartment

Time for Dumping and Collecting the Waste

– Time specified for dumping and collecting the waste is different in each areas

– You need to ask it to the apartment management office or relevant district office

The standard plastic garbage bags can be purchased at nearest supermarkets and convenient stores. Different district (gu) uses different bags; therefore, you may have a different garbage bag from what your friend has. And also the price for the garbage bag would be different for each district and cities.

What is general waste?

– It is waste items exclusive of food waste and recycling materials.

– It is also large waste item such as furniture

What is large waste item?

– It is waste that cannot fit into the standard plastic garbage bags.

– It can be furniture, electric appliances, bedding, sofa, table, etc.

How to throw away the large waste items

– You need to buy a specific sticker certificate from a district office or dong office and discharge the large waste item with attaching the sticker certificate outside of the building or house.

– The price of the sticker varies depending on the size of the large waste items.

– Each district office charges different prices for the sticker.

What is food waste?

– It is the remaining part of food to be disposed after cooking or passing the expiration date.

Not Allowed as Food Waste


Hand shells such as shells of walnuts, chestnuts, peanuts, acorns, coconuts,

Seeds of drupes such as apricots, persimmons


Bones and feathers


Shells of clam, turban shell, abalone, ark shell, sea squirt, lobster

Internal organs of globe fish


Tea bags, grounds of herbal medicine

Source from Seoul Metropolitan Government

How to do the recycling

– Divide the recycling materials by type in an ordinary plastic bag. The standard garbage bag is not required for recycling.

– Collecting day is different for each areas and apartment buildings.

Type of Recycling Materials


Recyclable Items


Newspapers, books, notes, wrapping paper, corrugated cardboard, paper bags, paper boxes


Beer bottles, liquor bottles, soda beverage bottles


Beverage cans, spray cans, butane gas containers, aluminum, stainless utensils, steal tools, iron wire


Safety packages for household electrical appliances, etc. delivery containers for fresh fish or fruit, clean instant noodle containers


Items indicated as “PET”, “HIPE”, “LDPE”, “PP”, “PS”, “PVC”

Milk cartons

Milk cartons

Fluorescent Lamps

Unbroken fluorescent lamps or bulbs

Source from Seoul Metropolitan Government