Korea Environmental Policy Bulletin - Volume-Based Waste Fee System

Ministry of Environment - Korea Environment Institute - Republic of Korea (2003)

In order to reduce waste generation at the source and maximize waste recycling, the Korean government introduced the Volume-Based Waste Fee (VBWF) system in 1995. In Korea, local municipalities have a responsibility to collect, recycle and treat municipal solid waste from household, small business and commercial sectors. Traditionally, all municipalities levied waste fee on each household through property tax or monthly lumpsum fee. Under this fixed-fee system, cost per each residence remained constant regardless of the amount of waste generated, which created a false impression that management services of municipal solid wastes are free of charge. Households and commercial sectors are required to purchase designated VBWF bags to throw away their garbage under the VBWF system. This way, the public has more incentive to generate less waste because they pay for waste treatment in proportion to the amount they dispose. By providing a free collection mechanism for recyclable waste, VBWF induces the public to be more active in waste separation and promotes waste recycling.