SEJONG, Jan. 25 (Korea Bizwire) — More public grounds being designated as national parks, and a bring-your-own-bottle scheme for cafes and fast food restaurants guaranteeing discounts are two of this year’s eco-friendly initiatives planned by the government.
According to the Ministry of Environment’s blueprint for 2018 announced on January 24, customers who bring their own drinking container to one of 16 coffeehouse chains or five fast food franchises participating in the program will be able to receive discounts of up to 10 percent as well as free refills.
To qualify for the perks, individuals must bring their own cup or tumbler. For instance, those ordering a coffee in a mug will not be considered eligible for a discount.
A spokesperson for the Ministry of Environment said, “Currently, 12 coffeehouse brands and five fast food chains are participating in the discount scheme, but the number of participants may grow as new coffee brands emerge. The discounts offered will also grow from the 100 to 300 won being offered now.”
In addition, as the Ministry of Environment looks to drastically cut down on the use of disposable cups, the number of public collection centers for recyclables will be increased and a deposit return policy — implemented from 2003 through 2008 in certain coffeehouse chains — will be brought back.
Previously, a poll regarding the deposit return policy conducted late last year among 2,005 people 20-years old and above returned an overwhelming approval rate of 89.9 percent (71.4 percent agreement, 18.5 percent acceptance).
Also on the Ministry of Environment’s agenda is reclassifying and expanding the boundaries of national parks, reserves and territories protected for flora and fauna conservation.
One direct beneficiary will be Jeju’s Hallasan National Park, which will be expanded and designated as Jeju National Park in a bid to protect certain areas that are at risk of encroaching economic activity. This would result in expanding the current 153㎢ of land dedicated to national parks on the island to 673㎢.