I knew that things would be different in Korea. I didn’t expect kitchen sinks to be so different. All my kitchen sinks in Los Angeles had garbage disposals. Flip a switch and food bits that gathered in the catch area get ground up and slip down the drain. No muss, no fuss. Here, you have to be on food trash duty at all times. In every sink you will find a small strainer to hold bigger pieces of food trash. Then, below the black rubber is steel strainer that holds the small bits. If you forget about cleaning under there, every few days a smell will rise up to remind you.


Trash collection and recycling here is extensive. There are lots of rules. First, sort everything. Metal, glass, plastic, paper and food are all recycled. They go in their corresponding bins outside of your apartment building. Food trash gets reclaimed at outlying farms. Your non-recyclables go into a specially purchased trash bag, indicating where you bought it and where it can be picked up. Trash in non-complying bags will not be picked up, as you are paying for pick up service by paying for the bag. Failure to comply with the sorting rules will result in the wrath of your neighbors. Housewives (아주마) will scowl at your error and school you on the right way to do things. And oh, Korean husbands aren’t supposed to take out the trash because it’s “womens’ work.” Gyopo wife learned this the hard way after sending her husband out with the trash.