SEOUL, Dec. 9 (Korea Bizwire) — South Korea’s major convenience store chain CU said Tuesday that all of its stores across the country will stop using plastic bags and start using eco-friendly bags, a first among the nation’s convenience store chains.
CU will use environmentally-friendly paper bags certified by the Ministry of Environment and made of biodegradable plant material. The eco-friendly paper bags can biodegrad within 180 hours in soil at a temperature of 58 degrees Celsius.
Prior to the announcement, CU had already started using eco-friendly bags at 150 stores across the country in April.
After going through a transition period of using both plastic bags and eco-friendly bags, CU plans to require all of its 15,000 convenience stores throughout the country to use only eco-friendly bags by April next year.
The eco-friendly bags will be sold at a price of 100 won (US$0.09). CU customers can also rent a reusable shopping bag at a price of 500 won.
“The number of plastic bags used by domestic convenience stores is estimated at about 600 million per year. It takes more than 100 years for a buried plastic bag to completely decompose,” CU said.
“Eco-friendly bags can contribute to preventing soil pollution, as well as reducing the emission of greenhouse gases by about 9,000 tons per year. They also create the same effect as planting about 3 million pine trees.”
Image Credit: CU / firstname.lastname@example.org