Government Announces Drastic Measures to Cut Waste | Be Korea-savvy

Government Announces Drastic Measures to Cut Waste

A recycling center in Goyang. (image: Yonhap)

A recycling center in Goyang. (image: Yonhap)

SEOUL, May 11 (Korea Bizwire)The government announced new comprehensive measures yesterday that would drastically reduce the amount of waste generated in the process of product production, distribution, consumption, collection of waste, and recycling.

In order to prevent the repeat of the crisis surrounding recycled goods that occurred early last month, the government has decided that a revamp of the waste collection system is not sufficient to tackle the issue.

Rather, a comprehensive approach to reduce the amount of plastic used in the production process appears to be a more appropriate solution.

First, the Ministry of Environment has decided to reduce the use of materials that are not easily recyclable starting from the production stage.

Following this change, colored PET bottles containing water and other liquids will be required to be replaced by transparent bottles by 2020. Colored bottles are known for being difficult to recycle.

However, some products such as beer that require colored bottles to maintain a certain level of quality will be permitted. PVC products will be banned altogether because of their toxicity and recycling difficulties.

The number of packaging materials that must be recycled will rise from 43 to 63 in 2022.

The government will also try to control excess packaging that arises in the distribution process due to the surge of online shopping.

The ministry will come up with guidelines to prevent excess packaging by October and work to draw relevant laws to enforce the new standards.

In accordance with terms agreed upon with the Ministry last month, large supermarkets will do away with dual packaging for promotional products.

From a consumption standpoint, the ministry aimed to drastically lower the use of disposable cups and plastic. By 2022, the Ministry is aiming via various policies to cut their use by 35 percent.

Plastic bags will no longer be available at large supermarkets. Instead, only cardboard boxes and reusable plastic trash bags will be permitted for consumer use.

H. S. Seo (

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