SEOUL, Nov. 23 (Korea Bizwire) — An environmental regulation banning plastic bags in large retail stores will be expanded to convenience stores starting this week while the use of disposable cups, cutlery and other items will be prohibited at restaurants and cafeterias, officials said Wednesday.
The ban on plastic bags, currently applicable to stores with a floor space of 3,000 square meters or more or supermarkets with a 165 square-meter floor space or more, will be expanded to convenience stores, bakeries and some other retail stores beginning on Thursday, the environment ministry officials said.
Currently, convenience stores provide shoppers with plastic bags at a small charge.
That will no longer be available under the expanded measure, and the use of plastic umbrella covers, provided by department or other stores on rainy days, will also be banned.
Under the measure, restaurants and cafeterias will be no longer allowed to use paper cups, plastic straws or other disposable utensils while the use of plastic cheering equipment will also be prohibited in sports facilities, according to the environment ministry.
The new measure marks the first expansion of the anti-disposable waste regulation adopted in 2019 to fight drastic increases in plastic and other disposable waste.
The environment ministry said it will provide a one-year grace period for compliance with the expanded measure, citing the need to lessen the burden of compliance by store operators.