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Food Safety While Buying Korean Products

Recycling and Composting Korean Food With Food Allergies

What I bought at the Korean Convenience Store is a popular trend these days on TikiTok and Youtube.  People love watching shoppers go into the Korean convenience store and buy snacks and “nosh.”  Unless you have been living under a rock then you also know that climate change is real and everyone needs to do their part.  All of us must focus on properly composting, and recycling food packaging.

I want to share some tips for recycling and composting that anyone can implement even if they manage food allergies.

Food Allergy Safety

For people who are managing food allergies taking extra precautionary steps will help prevent cross-contamination with coming in contact with your food allergen.  An article was written by the American Academy of Allergy and Immunology that discusses Composting With Food Allergies.  

Below I have included three of their most popular tips for people with food allergies who want to compost:

  • Wear a dust and pollen mask to prevent inhaling any particles
  • Wear long sleeves and long pants to prevent skin exposure
  • Use protective gear on your hands and eyes to prevent contact

Read the full article from the American Academy of Allergy and Immunology here.  

Buying Products

  • Bring reusable bags and ask the store to bag the items for you. If they will not do this, please use either sanitized hands and/or gloves.
  • Don’t try to identify what the item is in case you make a mistake or the item has touched another item with other food allergens inside.
  • Make a list ahead of grocery shopping either in-person or online.  You will only buy what you need and you can learn about the product’s ingredients, and food allergens in advance.

Here are some tips that will help with composting with food allergies.


Buy products that make it easier to use so that it doesn’t feel tiresome.  Popular products include: 

  • Kitchen sink strainer mesh bag that’s biodegradable  
  • Buy and use compost bins
  • Take the guesswork out!  Have handy infographics or a mobile application that will help you quickly identify what can and can’t be composted in your local area.  

Compost Bins

It is easier to compost if you keep a small trash can on top of your counter.  Food scraps that can be placed into the compost bin include: (fruits, egg shells, seeds (apricot seeds, etc.), teabags, hard shells (crab, walnut, pineapple skin, etc.) dairy, meat, and newspapers.

Below are some of the popular methods for food composting they already use in South Korea. 

Compost Bags
  • Use eco-friendly compostable food storage bags
  • Freeze bags until trash collection 
  • Use different color trash bags for easier separation of trash, recyclables, and compost/leaves

How To Separate Food

  • Mix layers of dried leaves between food scraps and coffee grounds
  • Drill holes around the sides and bottom of trash bins for drainage (outside large bins)  Add mesh screens over all of the holes to keep bugs away.
  • Keep the top solid so it is not affected by weather conditions (outside large bins)

Tips For Reducing Your Plastic

Zero Waste

  • Buy grocery and snack products in bulk
  • Bring your own cup/bottle to purchase coffee and beverages
  • Use reusable bags at the grocery store


  • Buy fresh fruit at your local Farmer’s Market 
  • Buy surplus food from shops and restaurants *Check out the Too Good To Go App*
  • Donate food to local homeless shelters, Feeding America, or food rescue organization
  • Buy foods that can be used in multiple meals/recipes.

Popular ingredients in Korean cooking include grains, garlic, onions, sesame oil, and vegetables.  Switching out the protein, or cooking method and you can create any number of meals every week. 

To cut out plastic usage altogether when buying your favorite Korean product opt for more environment-friendly versions you can use:

Stainless Steel Alternatives

  • Lunch boxes
  • Stainless steel drinking straws
  • Reusable tins for makeup, candles, dish soaps, etc.

Are you looking for resources that your small business can implement? Check out The United States Environmental Protection Agency.  They have a very informative small business graphic that environmental citizens can do to prevent and prioritize food waste.  The graphic is available in English and Korean. 

Do you have any food waste or composting tips to share?  Add them in the comments below, I can’t wait to read them!

Know someone who would like to read this post why not share it using the social links below?

Korean Convenience mobile application provides assistance for people with food allergies or intolerances to find Korean snacks and grocery products easier.

The Korean Convenience app makes it easier to find Korean or Korean-inspired food products as easy as possible.  Check out our How It Works page to find out how to use the app or the FOOD section to see a list of Korean food products and their top nine food allergens.

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