Korea says "no" to plastic bags

Korea says "no" to plastic bags

The ban on the use of plastic bags has been in effect in Korea since the beginning of 2019 and the country is stepping up the fight against plastic bags.

Currently, many delivery companies in Korea are trying to minimize the use of plastic packaging. In order to protect the environment, the Korean government has issued a ban on the use of plastic bags in supermarkets and retail stores across the country since the beginning of 2019.

According to statistics, Korea packed a total of 2.54 billion parcels on 25 February, making it the second largest waste producer with 62kg of waste per capita used/year. Recognizing the waste crisis with its negative impact on the environment, workers at delivery services companies have replaced plastic packaging with more environmentally friendly materials such as cardboard or paper tape. Styrofoam boxes used for fresh food are also prohibited.

Mr. Kim Ki-bak, a member of the project "Do not use plastic packaging" said: "The project "Do not use plastic packaging" helps to sort waste easier and help businesses attract more and more consumers raising awareness about environmental issues through implementing green solutions.”

Kim Ki-bak, along with environmental activists in Korea, spent a year selecting and testing more environmentally friendly materials in an effort to reduce the cost of producing closed packaging which is not plastic. New types of packaging cost is about 30% higher than plastic packaging, while for cold storage boxes, the price can be up to 70% higher.

Dr Roh Hong-seung of the Korea Transportation Institute said: "We are not just relying on businesses, but the government needs to have a better role in providing support in terms of policy and raising awareness of environmental issues for consumers. ”

When this law is implemented, more than 10.000 supermarkets and 20.000 bakeries in Korea will not be given away free plastic bags to customers like before and consumers are encouraged to use paper bags or paper boxes. Stores in case of violating the ban on plastic bags will even have to pay financial penalties of up to 3 million won (about 2.600 USD).

Korea is known as the largest disposable plastic consumer in the world, reaching 98.2 kg / person / year, according to the report of the government in 2016, affirming that the law prohibits the use of plastic bags is necessary, despite complaints from a portion of consumers and business owners.

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