South Korea has managed to increase food waste recycling levels from 2 percent to 95 percent.
Chung Sun-hee finely crushes eggshells, dries and saves her coffee grounds, and separates large vegetable offcuts into smaller pieces. Later, the 55-year-old professional translator will bury them in her backyard, in rotating plots of earth that are given ample time to compost before being replenished. She will plant tomatoes, basil and corn in the resulting soil.
She has a raft of little tricks to make it all work: In the summer, for example, her husband dices up the rinds of every watermelon he eats in order to make the composting process faster. “When we lived in an apartment, I would throw away all my food waste into the shared collection containers,” Chung said. “But now, I compost almost all of it.”
Chung is one of a growing number of city dwellers who are getting into urban farming, not just to grow their own vegetables, but also as an exercise in waste reduction.