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RFID will help Korea to trim food waste by 20 percent in 2013

RFID-enabled curbside recycling is having a tough time ramping up in the U.S. Municipalities like Dayton, Ohio and Charleston County, S.C., have rolled out successful programs recently, but the concept is slow to catch on. There are still frequent stories about local politicians requesting that RFID tags be ripped off of newly ordered disposal units, even if the RFID tags are not going to be activated. Clearly, there is still an education process required in the U.S.

Take a trip halfway around the globe to Korea, and RFID is about to play a major role not only in recycling, but in reducing the amount of food waste produced in that country. According to an article on the sustainable website Earth911.com, the Korean government will turn to RFID to meet a mandate that requires a 20 percent reduction in food waste in that country in 2013.

The article says that Korean wireless carrier SK Telecom has developed food waste bins designed to weigh food waste. The RFID-enabled bins will then calculate the disposal fee based on the exact weight, which will then be debited from the user’s public transportation card or will be processed for payment on a linked credit card.

Food waste is a huge problem in Korea, which has run out of landfill space. The Korean government spends more than $600 million annually on food waste disposal.

Mandated RFID initiatives in Korea are not new. Two years ago, the country announced an aggressive plan that calls for 50 percent of pharmaceuticals sold in the country to carry RFID tags by 2015, in an effort to reduce counterfeits and theft. Tag volumes are soaring in Korea as the region begins to prepare for the initiative this year.

Here’s an excerpt from the article by Earth911.com:

The user taps the bin’s card reader with his or her assigned card. The disposal lid opens immediately, and allows the user to toss in the table scraps from last night’s dinner. The cover closes, weighs the food waste, and informs the user immediately of the total weight and subsequent fee. The responsibility for collection, transport and treatment of food waste then falls on the company contracted to empty those bins.

Click here to read the full article.

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