Is Our Government Going to Fine Us for Wasting Food?

Most of us had our parents or other authority figures attempt to shame us into eating all the food on our plate with the scold, “Children are starving on the other side of the world!” The smart alecks among us would respond, “Fine, I’ll mail this food to them. Tell me their address.” If your house was like my house growing up, that smart aleck-y yet legitimate response earned you punishment. Now, as a parent, I do not like it when my children waste food. Mainly because that’s money out of my pocket. Thankfully, unlike people in South Korea, I only have to pay for the wasted food. In South Korea, if you waste food you also have to pay the government.

HuffPost writes of how Seoul, South Korea, is becoming filled with urban farmers due to the fines levied by the government for wasting food. Growing more food may seem like an odd way to combat waste, but the newly-minted city farmers use waste as compost. The article explains:

Once a city where unsightly and foul-smelling landfills loomed over entire neighborhoods, Seoul now operates one of the most rigorous food waste recycling programs in the world. The results have been impressive.

The South Korean government banned sending food to landfills in 2005 and, in 2013, also prohibited the dumping of garbage juice (leftover water squeezed from food waste) into the sea. Today, a staggering 95 percent of food waste is recycled ― a remarkable leap from less than 2 percent in 1995. Seoul has managed to cut the amount of food waste produced by 400 metric tons per day. … Since 2013, South Koreans have been required by law to discard food waste in biodegradable bags, priced according to volume and costing the average four-person family about $6 a month. By purchasing them from the local convenience store or supermarket, residents are effectively paying a tax on their food waste upfront. In Seoul, this tax pays for roughly 60 percent of the cost of collecting and processing the city’s food waste, according to government data.

One can’t help but wonder how the working poor deal with the added stresses on their time and budget that’s required to meet South Korean’s draconian anti-waste measures. I know that when I was poor, these types of regulations would have strangled my budget and time. Leftists, though, have a difficult time seeing the contradictions in their worldview.

Frighteningly, leftists all over the United States reading HuffPost’s article are no doubt salivating at the thought of implementing even more government regulations. If they do take their cues from South Korea regarding food waste, it’s almost certain that they’ll eventually figure out a way to regulate the existing regulations in ways that will cause your dinner to exponentially rise in cost.

I’m all for cutting down on waste and cleaner cities. However, I’m very wary of adding even more government regulations to our already seemingly endless list of hoops we all have to jump through to do everyday things.