With a move to the other side of the world, who would have guessed that the biggest challenge (to date) would be TRASH? In a megapolis of 26million+ (the city itself is “only” about 10million), I guess I should have expected it to be a “thing.”
Seoul is very clean and well-organized. Mel has had several NYC rat-spotting adventures near his new gentrified digs in Harlem, but we certainly have not seen anything close to a critter in Seoul. Nope. Not a hint of vermin here. And, I know why. They take trash very seriously!
We are still eating out every night because the shipping crate will not be delivered until tomorrow – no pots and pans – except my spectacular new German Wok (more about that later) and no dishes. We are using Solo cups (which I wash and re-use) and two spoons that I threw in my suitcase when I discovered them in the dishwasher after the shipping crate had already left the building in Midlothian for our morning Cheerios. PB&J and chips are served for lunch on a single paper towel, which is reused for clean-up. I’m telling you…trash is a DEAL!
All that to say, we have very little trash to begin with. But, we ventured down into Basement #3 (there are 5) to attempt the BIG TRASH EVENT last night. The leasing agent had demonstrated it all to Mack a few weeks ago, but he was unclear on exactly where the facility was located and even more unclear on how to dispose of our refuse. I kind of rolled my eyes when he started to explain it, but once I got down there (after we wandered through all of the basements, only to return to B3, where we started), I could understand his confusion.
Remember that movie, Apollo 13, where they said, “Houston, We have a problem?” Well, the REFUSE DISPOSAL FACILITY in our basement looks just like Command Central in that movie. And indeed, we did have a problem.
First of all, you have to buy special trash bags. They are tiny – about 15 inches tall and cost 49cents each. That’s for the “trash” (they frown on trash). Then, there are a multitude of recycling bins – everything is separated – two or three different kinds of plastic, different kinds of paper, etc. Then, there’s the place for cardboard. And, heaven forbid, you might want to get rid of something big…then you have to go down to city hall and purchase a label for pick up. There are CCTV cameras everywhere, along with warnings that, much as they would hate to do it, “We will be forced to track you down using the CCTV camera if you place items without proper labeling.”
Well…I’m already sweating like a pig!
Oh, and then, when there is food waste, there is a bigger process. First you “spin” the leftovers in a special thing in the sink (no garbage disposal). Then you transfer the kinda dry goo into a thin plastic bag and take it down to the food drying machine (see photo). There are 4 steps to operating that machine. The machine ultimately weighs your goo and keeps track of it in a special computer program. I suppose that the trash police will appear if we go over the unspecified limit. Good grief!
My friend has purchased 6 pieces of trash disposal apparatus. I would do that, but then I would have to haul them on the subway:( So, I only have two – recycling (which is then subdivided down there in the TRASH PALACE), trash (in the 49cent bags) then the yucky spun stuff – I’m still figuring out about that. I’m pretty sure that’s gonna have to be Mack’s job.
All I can say is it’s a good thing I went ahead and got that doctorate. I must be smart, right? Hmmmmmm…..we’ll see if I can learn to separate the trash appropriately. CCTV may turn me in and instead of living out my golden years in a nice facility-by-the-sea, I could end up in GARBAGE JAIL.