Press Release

Board View

Ministry of Environment and 16 Franchise Stores Pledge to Create a Culture of Restaurants Without Disposable Items

▷ Activating the use of reusable containers, reducing disposable item usage through behavioral inducement (nudge campaign)

▷ Providing priority support benefits for reusable container supply projects to participating companies in the Agreement

The Ministry of Environment (Minister Han Wha-jin) announced that on April 25, it will sign a voluntary agreement for creating a culture of disposable item-free restaurants with 16 franchise restaurants* and the Korea Franchise Association (hereinafter referred to as the Association) at the Kensington Hotel (located in Yeouido, Seoul).

* Go-Pig, Goban Restaurant, Gimgane, Bondosirak, Witch’s Kitchen, Mitaly, Suyuri Udon House, Sundae Story, Obok Obong House, Jadam Chicken, Jiho Oriental Medicine Samgyetang, Puradak, Pizzeria’O, Hanmaeum Butcher Restaurant, 33 Tteokbokki, BBQ

At this signing ceremony, Minister Han Wha-jin, along with representatives of 16 franchise restaurant operators and Chairman of the Korea Franchise Association Chung Hyun Sik, will attend. The participants are expected to pledge to spread the culture of practical actions such as reducing the use of disposable items, promoting separate waste collection, and increasing recycling. 

The Ministry entered into a voluntary agreement to reduce disposable items with 24 coffee shops, fast food outlets, and pastry shops on January 25, 2024. Last year, voluntary agreements were also made with venues such as baseball stadiums and duty-free shops. However, this is the first time a voluntary agreement to reduce disposable items is being made in collaboration with the restaurant industry.

This agreement was organized around major franchise companies willing to participate in voluntary reduction of disposable items. It is the result of a meeting held on November 20, 2023, where the Ministry of Environment, the Ministry of SMEs and Startups, and associations and organizations of small business owners promised to join efforts to change the culture of disposable item use. In addition, on December 1, 2023, the Ministry held discussions with associations, during which the associations pledged to reduce disposable item usage and contribute to the realization of a carbon-neutral society.

The participating companies in the agreement plan to engage in promoting the culture of practical actions such as reducing the use of disposable items, promoting recycling, and spreading awareness through publicity. In particular, efforts will be made not to provide disposable items such as paper cups and wet wipes when customers do not request them first.

Some restaurants have been observed to stack paper cups on tables and use more cups than necessary. Through participation in behavioral inducement campaigns (nudge campaigns), it is expected that unnecessary use of paper cups will decrease. 

Paper cups Aprons Delivery containers Disposable ⇒ Multi-use

In addition, efforts will be made to separate and recycle transparent PET bottles used in the stores to ensure that they are not contaminated with other substances. Specialized collection and recycling companies will be actively engaged to collect and recycle these materials. The Association plans to monitor compliance with the agreement and encourage ongoing participation from the participating companies.

To encourage voluntary compliance with the agreement, the Ministry plans to prioritize support for participating companies applying for disposable container support projects. This initiative aims to support reduction through participation and assistance rather than uniform regulations, thereby improving policies on disposable item management. Moreover, an analysis of reduction achievements resulting from agreement compliance will be conducted, and efforts will be made to promote the dissemination of excellent practices.

Minister Han Wha-jin stated, “We will continue our efforts to establish a paradigm of reducing disposable items through voluntary participation and support, rather than uniform regulations.” She added, “Through this voluntary agreement, we hope that the practice of reducing disposable item usage, starting from restaurants, will spread throughout our society, and the Ministry will do its utmost to provide policy support.”

For further information, please contact the Public Relations Division. 

Contact person: Gina Lee, foreign media spokesperson

Phone: +82-44-201-6055

Email: gcjgina