Although South Korea completed its national pension system in 1999, late enrollment and other issues caused many seniors to be left without adequate financial aid. Now, some of those elderly men and women have resorted to gathering recyclable cardboard just to put food on the table. With cardboard prices dropping, a full day of foraging may not even provide an hour's pay at minimum wage, and the senior citizens are faced with a bleak future in their twilight years.
Incheon is home to a group supporting the elderly box foragers.
The company LOVERE:PAPER reuses cardboard as canvases, improving the lives of the elderly who gather boxes.
Seo Sunja gathers boxes to help her family. Once every 3 days, she loads 300kg of cardboard into a cart and pulls it to a collection site.