SEOUL, Nov. 26 (Korea Bizwire) –Eight out of 10 South Koreans express support for the implementation of a comprehensive government ban on single-use plastics, as revealed by a recent poll.
Concerning the Ministry of Environment’s decision on November 7 to retract its proposal to ban plastic straws and paper cups, 50.2 percent of respondents indicated a negative stance, surpassing the positive opinion (45.3 percent) within the margin of error.
This sentiment resonates in the retail sector, exemplified by GS Retail, the operator of GS25 convenience stores. The company announced last Friday its commitment to maintaining an eco-friendly approach by exclusively using paper straws.
Despite the Ministry of Environment’s recent withdrawal of regulations on disposable products, GS25 continues its ‘zero plastic’ policy, initiated in April when the company ceased ordering plastic straws at its 17,000 stores nationwide.
Anticipating a substantial impact due to approximately 7 million daily store visitors, GS Retail estimates a reduction of 200 million plastic straws annually.
In November last year, GS Retail introduced paper shopping bags with environmental protection messages in place of the company name to enhance its image as an eco-friendly brand.
The survey underscores citizens’ heightened awareness of environmental policies. When asked to evaluate the government’s overall efforts in reducing single-use waste, 59.2 percent deemed them “poor,” while 36.4 percent regarded them as “adequate.”
Regarding single-use paper cups and straws, 77.1 percent of respondents advocated for strengthened regulations, with 12.1 percent preferring maintenance and 10.8 percent suggesting a relaxation. Concerning the plastic bag ban, 73.7 percent supported strengthening measures, whereas only 10.1 percent favored relaxation.
Commissioned by the Korea Federation for Environmental Movements (KFEM), the ‘Awareness Survey on Disposable Products’ was conducted by Research View and surveyed 1,000 individuals aged 18 and older nationwide over two days in November.
The results highlight a significant consensus among respondents, with 81.4 percent expressing agreement towards a comprehensive government regulatory policy to address the issue of disposable waste, while 14.9 percent disagreed.
Regarding the seriousness of the disposable waste problem in Korea, a staggering 88.5 percent of respondents characterized it as a significant issue, while only 9.0 percent considered it not serious.
The survey, conducted using ARS automated response, maintains a margin of error of ±3.1 percentage points at a 95 percent confidence level.
M. H. Lee (firstname.lastname@example.org)