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Yeong San Man Co. Food Waste Recycling Factory Visit

Friday 19th July 2019 officially marked the first tour of the Next Generation Leaders Forum’s newly formed Foreign Students World Reporters’ group.

Next Generation Leaders Forum’s Foreign Students World Reporters with company's chairman, Mr Insik Hwang

Made up of members from different countries and different cultural backgrounds, however, bound by the same love for Korea and the passion to do our little part in making a change, our reporters’ group set its aim to learn as much as we can from the leaders in different fields who have shaped Korea into what it is today – an economically successful technologically advanced country – a role model to many. As our first destination, we have chosen Pohang, a city in the province of North Gyeongsang in order to visit Yeong San Man Food Waste Recycling Factory.

Upon arrival to Pohang KTX Station, we were warmly greeted by the Yeong San Man group’s president and chairman, Mr Insik Hwang and Sambu Construction company’s vice president, Mr Taese Lee. While having a delicious meal of the finest sea food in the area, which most of our foreign students reporters have tried for the first time, the two presidents’ kind talk helped us not only overcome the cultural differences between, but also helped us feel more comfortable to ask questions when we later arrived at the site of the factory.

Foreign Students World Reporters having lunch with Mr Insik Hwang and Mr Taese Lee at the seafood restaurant

The Yeong San Man Food Waste Recycling Factory was founded in the year 1999, although the primal research in the field and the idea sparked already one year before that, in 1998. And as the framed inscription in written in Chinese characters at the entrance of the factory and the motto of the company states “Preserve the environment”, the company received the excellency award from the Ministry of Environment in 2006 for its outstanding endeavours in recycling the leftover food waste. Moreover, between the years 2005 and 2009, the company registered 4 patents and 2 utility models of the machinery included in the recycling process.

Tour of the Yeong San Man Food Waste Recycling Factory

As we arrived to the location, we were first given a short but detailed tour of to the factory itself. We were able to see the recycling food waste in process and the state of the art technology used for it right in front of our eyes, which momentarily sparked our own interest in it and made us think more deeply about what actually happens with the leftover food when it leaves our homes. Next, we were escorted to the meeting room where factory's CEO, Mr Daesik Sin and the company's leader himself replied to our numerous questions.

Foreign Students World Reporters during the interview at the meeting room

As we were kindly explained, the process consists of the following stages: pick up, dehydration, crushing, sorting out foreign materials, temporary preserving, sterilization and drying, cooling, magnetic sorting, another crushing and another sorting by vibration, followed by the final result of transforming into stock and pet food ready to be packed and delivered. What we have learned is that up to 160 tonnes of food waste on average per day is recycled in the Yeong San Man Food Waste Recycling Factory’s high-tech facilities. Also, we have learned that the concern about food waste in South Korea started around the year 1995 and it was already around the year 2000 when more serious laws about food waste and its recycling started to form its shape and be implemented slowly across the country, due to the realization of the effects of the food waste on the environment pollution. No matter how we look at it, from the point of view of law implementation or the idea, knowledge and technology itself, South Korea has once again proved to us foreign students living and studying here at the moment, that its fast development process wasn’t just a momentum of sheer luck, but, on the contrary, a result of hard work and continuous will to improve and make a change for the better, as we have heard from kind and wise leader Mr Insik Hwang and his diligent employees, whom he leads with just.

Finally, our foreign students world reporters have also come to the visit prepared, having looked into prior research and aware of how serious the situation with the food waste and overall preservation of our environment is. Especially, our reporter Amira from Algeria posed very concrete questions about the possibility of introducing similar technology into her own country, since she finds the current situation in her country alarming and very similar to the one South Korea has been in before, so she is willing to be the link that could bring benefits to both countries in the future. Extremely helpful, Mr Daesik Sin offered to share not only with Amira, but with all of the curious reporters some extra materials on the matter so that we can acquire even deeper insight into the matter and be able to fulfill our goals for the next generation.

The last question was posed directly to the chairman, Mr Insik Hwang, asking him, as a person who has accomplished so much, to give one final word of advice for our young dreamers with heads filled with ideas, but still unsure of how to make them into reality. Reflecting on his childhood memories, Mr Insik Hwang revealed he was holding on to his motivation thanks to the wise words of his grandfather about the society – no matter how close you are with a person, no matter how honest and faithful you do to each other, you should not rely on anyone’s help first before your own. You can achieve everything relying on your own sincerity and strengths. And as he showed our foreign students reporters and old photograph of him sitting at his desk from his early days in the business, an invisible, but strong bond between the two generations of young enthusiasts and experienced leader could undoubtedly be sensed in the room.

Leading the company with honesty and sincerity is what brought Mr Insik Hwang to where he is now

The end of the exciting day was spent in pleasant chat in the company’s headquarters office over refreshments and dinner, where both sides summed up their impressions about the day left behind, as well as gave each other words of encouragement, gratitude and exchanged contacts for future meetings and cooperation. As our foreign students world reporters group lead by our mentor leader Mr Sungchul Kim headed to the Pohang station to board the train, we bid the last farewells with our hosts for the day, Mr Insik Hwang and Mr Taese Lee, also receiving memorabilia gifts from the Yeong San Man Company to always remind us of the enjoyable, but more than anything else useful experience we were able to gain thanks to this opportunity.

Summing up the impressions of the day at the company’s headquarters office

On our way back to Seoul, tired but still under the impression of an incredible day our foreign students reporters were already starting to brainstorm plans on how to share this important message with other foreign students studying in Korea, as well as our colleagues with same ideas in our own countries. Therefore, even though this article reflects on only one tiny bit of what we have learned, we are using this opportunity to invite everyone else with ideas similar to ours, to join us, not only in our reporting group, but also in developing ideas to protect the environment and spreading the word about its importance. Do not hesitate to contact us in case you have further interest in Yeong San Man Company and its business, we would be more than glad to tell you more about it.

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