SEOUL, April 1 (Korea Bizwire) — The use of disposable items, such as single-use plastic cups and cutlery, is prohibited inside cafes and restaurants under a new environmental regulation that went into force Friday.
It marks a reinstatement of the environmental ministry’s anti-disposable law that first went into effect in 2018.
Its enforcement was temporarily lifted in the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic in early 2020 amid concerns reusable cafe drinkware could be a source of virus infection.
The ministry has, however, decided to bring it back as the prolonged pandemic led to a surge of waste.
Under the latest regulation, 18 disposable items, including single-use serveware, cutlery, toothpicks and plastic tablecloths, are banned for use inside cafes and restaurants.
Cafes and restaurants are also prohibited from providing free plastic or other disposable bags, except paper bags.
Several new items, such as plastic straws, stir sticks and paper cups, will go into the prohibition list on Nov. 24, the ministry said.
A violation could lead to fines according to the frequency of infringement and the size of stores, but the ministry said it is planning to rely on administrative guidance and instruction, rather than penalties, to ensure compliance until the pandemic situation subsides.