SEOUL, Dec. 27 (Korea Bizwire) — The southern resort island of Jeju, increasingly affected by a surge in garbage caused by a drastic rise in the number of visitors and rapidly growing population, is stepping up to reduce plastic waste.
The Small Enterprise and Market Service reported that as of April 2019, Jeju Province had 27.8 coffee shops per 10,000 people, topping the national charts ahead of Gangwon Province (22.3 coffee shops) and North Jeolla Province (19 coffee shops).
Jeju has seen coffee shops opening up in every nook and corner of the island, from popular tourist destinations to small villages and even its adjacent islands, adding to the increased amount of plastic use.
Starbucks Coffee Korea has banned all of its 23 stores on Jeju from using disposable plastic cups since Dec. 7, replacing them with mugs, personal containers or reusable cups.
The Korea Federation for Environmental Movements in Jeju released a map that lists coffee shops and restaurants in the region that refrain from using disposable plastic cups.
The Jeju Special Self-Governing Province Development Corp., which sells Samdasoo bottled water, currently runs 16 machines in major tourist destinations, malls and schools across the island that automatically collect plastic bottles.
These machines compress plastic bottles and cans to one-tenth of their original mass and offer credit points to users.
The company reported that some 1.18 million plastic bottles have been collected over the past two years, reducing more than 70 tons of carbon emissions.
Football club Jeju United also offers credit points to spectators that bring plastic bottles to the team’s football matches. The team has also worn new uniforms made from recycled plastic bottles that were collected last October.
H. M. Kang (email@example.com)