SEOUL, April 18 (Korea Bizwire) — The Seoul Metropolitan Government has announced it will change the packaging of its tap water brand Arisu following calls to reduce the use of plastic bottles.
According to a statement from city officials on Tuesday, the 350 milliliter PET bottles used to contain the city’s tap water will become lighter, from 19 grams to 14 grams.
The initiative from South Korean capital comes on the heels of growing criticism that Arisu’s plastic bottles are 45 percent heavier than the environmental standards set by the Ministry of Environment, and that the glued labels make recycling difficult.
Back in 2013, the Ministry of Environment set out recommendations as part of efforts to slash the total weight of disposed plastic water bottles by 30 percent and annual plastic waste by 7,000 tons, a move that was estimated to result in savings of around 14.5 billion won.
Despite the recommendations, however, the Seoul government has been using 19-gram PET bottles for its tap water packaging, nearly 45 percent heavier than the recommended weight.
“The decision to go lighter has been delayed as the environment ministry didn’t set out specific recommendations on the weight of PET bottles for local governments,” a Seoul government official said.
In spite of the claim, however, other cities that produce their own tap water bottles including Busan, Daejeon, Gwangju, and Incheon have followed through with the recommendations, reducing the weight of their water bottles to nearly 14 grams.
Production of the new packaging for Arisu water begins mid next month, with the labels attached using thermal contraction, instead of glue, making the bottles more recyclable.
The Seoul Metropolitan Government produces 6 million bottles of Arisu every year to promote the purity of the city’s tap water and help victims of natural disasters.
Local district offices in Seoul use bottled Arisu for events and crises. In February, 100,000 bottles of Arisu were provided to volunteers at the PyeongChang Winter Olympics.
Hyunsu Yim (firstname.lastname@example.org)