South Korea’s smart garbage cans know how much waste you toss and charge accordingly

South Korea food waste
Taz / Flickr

Up to 40 percent of the American food supply goes to waste. That amounts to over 20 pounds of food waste per person per month. Organic waste, such as fruits and vegetables, make up the second highest component of landfills in the United States. And this isn’t just a Western problem. South Korea started addressing its own issue with food waste back in 2013, when the country realized that its wasted food was helping increase the insect population after seeping into the soil. In an effort to curb this effect, South Korea’s municipal authorities have implemented high-tech methods to track who’s throwing what away and make them pay, as PSFK reports.

In Seoul, residents must now swipe a card equipped with a radio frequency identification (RFID) chip before gaining access to residential trash cans. The chip contains the user’s name and address and lets the authorities monitor who disposes of what. Previously, everyone paid the same flat rate for waste disposal services. Now, a scale at the bottom of the high-tech trash bins weighs an individual’s waste and charges them a particular disposal fee.

The city has also implemented a “pay by the bag” approach that requires residents to purchase trash bags at an increased cost (for example, a 10-liter bag costs about $1) to encourage sorting and waste reduction. These combined methods have helped Seoul reduce restaurant food waste by 40 percent and household food waste by 30 percent. 

Other countries are also seeking ways to curb food waste. In Europe and Australia, “ugly food” campaigns have encouraged shoppers to buy misshapen but perfectly healthy fruits and vegetables, which are usually disposed of because they don’t meet customers’ standards for shiny apples or perfectly shaped pears. One of France’s largest supermarket chains, Intermarché, even expanded this campaign to cakes and cookies that has visual defects. The trend hasn’t fully caught on in the U.S., but some startups hope to help America’s food waste problem by championing ugly foods.

Emerging Tech

Awesome Tech You Can’t Buy Yet: Write music with your voice, make homemade cheese

Check out our roundup of the best new crowdfunding projects and product announcements that hit the web this week. You may not be able to buy this stuff yet, but it sure is fun to gawk!
Gaming

The best of the last generation: Our 50 favorite Xbox 360 games

The Xbox 360 thrived during a generation where games were plentiful. Here's our list of the best Xbox 360 games of all time, including all game genres and even a few special indie hits.
Movies & TV

These are the best movies on Hulu right now (March 2019)

From dramas to blockbusters, Hulu offers some great films to its subscribers. Check out the best movies on Hulu, whether you're into charming adventure tales or gruesome horror stories.
Movies & TV

The best shows on Netflix right now (March 2019)

Looking for a new show to binge? Lucky for you, we've curated a list of the best shows on Netflix, whether you're a fan of outlandish anime, dramatic period pieces, or shows that leave you questioning what lies beyond.
Smart Home

Is your Keurig making gross coffee? Might be time for a cleaning

No one likes a dirty, scaled, or smelly Keurig, but how are you supposed to clean them? Before you throw yours out the window, here is a quick guide on cleaning your machine out thoroughly.
Smart Home

Which is better, the original Echo or the Echo Dot? We compare them

Amazon Echo vs. Dot: Having Alexa answer your questions is nothing short of futuristic, but which device should you get? There are some big differences between the two, especially in size, sound, and cost.
Product Review

Gate’s Smart Lock is locked and loaded but ultimately lacks important basics

In a world of video cameras and doorbells comes the Gate Smart Lock, a lock with a video camera embedded. It’s a great idea, but lacks some crucial functionality to make it a top-notch product.
Smart Home

Viral porch pirate videos freak people out, cause unrealistic concern

Viral porch pirate videos convince others crime is more prevalent than facts indicate. According to polls, even though FBI reports show property crime rates are at historic lows, more people worry about crime today than ever before.
Smart Home

Sony’s Aibo robot dog can now patrol your home for persons of interest

Sony released the all-new Aibo in the U.S. around nine months ago, and since then the robot dog has (hopefully) been melting owners' hearts with its cute looks and clever tricks. Now it has a new one up its sleeve.
Deals

Amazon slashes $77 off the iRobot Roomba 690 multisurface robot vacuum

This special offer comes just in time for you to get a head start on spring cleaning. The Roomba 690 robot vacuum sucks up dust, dirt and pet hair — all while you're away at the office.
Smart Home

Get sweaty with the best smart home fitness gadgets on the market

Are you looking for smart fitness devices that will really help your workouts, no matter where you like to exercise? These smart home gadgets are designed to help you analyze your workouts and keep track of how you are doing.
Smart Home

Our favorite coffee makers make flavorful cups of joe from the comforts of home

Whether you're looking for a simple coffee maker to get you through the morning or a high-end brewer that will impress your taste buds and your friends, you'll find some of the best coffee makers around on this list.
Cars

Vivint’s Car Guard keeps tabs on your vehicle when you’re not in it

A simple plug-in that you can place in just about any vehicle, Vivint's new Car Guard will automatically detect if your car is bumped, towed, or stolen and will alert you about it.
News

Fibaro smart devices are now compatible with the Samsung SmartThings hub

Samsung SmartThings now supports even more devices with the integration of Fibaro, a company known for its smart home sensors. Several Fibaro devices are already compatible, with more on the way.