SEOUL, Jan. 6 (Korea Bizwire) – A recent study has revealed that South Koreans use 3.3 billion plastic cups each year, enough to stack high enough to reach the moon.
According to a Greenpeace report released on Saturday, South Korea used 23.5 billion plastic bags (469,000 tons), 4.9 billion plastic bottles (71,400 tons), and 3.3 billion plastic cups (45,900 tons) in 2017.
One year’s-worth of plastic bags used in South Korea is enough to cover up 70 percent of the Korean peninsula, while plastic bottles can be lined up long enough to circle the globe 10.6 times.
Each South Korean used 460 plastic bags (9.2 kilograms), 96 plastic bottles (1.4 kg), and 65 plastic cups (0.9 kg) per year.
Everyday waste, the majority of which is comprised of disposable plastic, went from 2.08 million tons in 2013 to 2.98 million tons in 2017, up by 43 percent.
Contrary to popular belief, most of the plastic waste in South Korea is left unrecycled, contaminating the environment.
Greenpeace reported that South Korea recycled 62 percent of its plastic waste in 2017, which is higher than the 40 percent-range in the European Union.
Half of all recycled plastic in South Korea, however, includes burning it as an energy source for thermal power generation, which should not be considered a part of ‘recycling’, Greenpeace said.
The European Union does not include the practice of ‘energy recovery’ into its recycling rate. If South Korea applies EU standards, the country’s recycling rate plunges to 22.7 percent.
H. M. Kang (email@example.com)