The Ministry of Environment
(Minister Kim Eunkyung) will pre-announce the amendment of the lower statute of
the Act on the Promotion of the Saving and Recycling of Resources (hereafter
‘resources recycling act’) for 40 days from August 2nd. The amendment is to
find a fundamental solution for the Korean recycling companies’ refusal of
waste plastic. The bill will suppress the use of disposable plastic bags and
add five types of plastic products in the list of subjects of extended producer
This amendment is one of the
following measures of the ‘comprehensive plan on the management of recyclable
wastes’, which was jointly announced by every ministry related to the issue on
The main changes made in the
bill are as follows:
First, revise the related laws and regulations to reduce the use of disposable plastic bags, which are being used 414 units per capita annually.
※As of 2010, the annual plastic bag use per capita in the EU is 198 (only 4 in Finland)
Ban the use of disposable
plastic bags in large stores (large shopping malls, etc.) and supermarkets*,
which are currently prohibiting the free providing of the bags.
* Supermarkets defined by the
standard industrial classification: a store sells mainly food and beverages,
and other daily goods within a certain scale of facility (165 m2 ~3,000 m2).
- Large stores have already made a voluntary
agreement with the Ministry of Environment in 2010 and have replaced plastic
bags with recyclable garbage bags, paper boxes, and shopping baskets.
- Supermarkets can also use recyclable garbage
bags and other alternatives.
* Among 145 surveyed chain
supermarkets, 80 percent of them did not provide plastic bags (the survey on
the implementation of the voluntary agreement for the reduction of disposable
products in 2017, Korea Zero Waste Movement Network).
- Including 2,000 large stores
and 11,000 supermarkets, 13,000 stores in total are banning the use of
disposable plastic bags.
Also, bakeries will be banned
from providing of disposable plastic bags for free. Bakeries use many plastic
bags*, and no regulations have prevented them from doing so thus far.
* Two large bakery franchises
use 230 million plastic bags per year.
- After the amendment, 18,000
bakeries in Korea will have to sell disposable plastic bags at a price.
* The two major bakeries in
Korea, Paris Baguette and Tous Les Jours, made a voluntary agreement with the
Ministry of Environment on July 2nd and started a phase-out of the use of
disposable plastic bags.
Second, in order to secure
recyclable plastic, five types of plastic bags, including the plastic bags used
for laundries, bubble wraps, umbrella bags, and other special types of plastic
bags, disposable plastic gloves and plastic wraps for food packaging, will be
the item subjected to extended producer responsibility (EPR).
The cost of scrap plastic
recycling is high, due to the large amount of alien substance. Therefore,
contributions from the producers of vinyl goods should be used as compensation
to the recycling companies to promote the recycling of scrap plastic.
- The producers of packing materials are subjected to pay the
contributions, but other vinyl materials, including the plastic bags used in
laundries were excluded, and it burdened recycling companies even more.
* Only 61 percent of recycled
scrap vinyl (packaging materials, 199,500 tons) among 326,000 tons in total is
the subject of the compensation.
Meanwhile, the Ministry of
Environment conducted a survey on the cost for recycling vinyl and had
discussions with the producers of vinyl products and recycling companies based
on the findings from the survey. As a result, the contribution of vinyl product
producers has increased by 6.2 percent, to 326 won per 1 kg, and the
compensation for recycling companies has increased by 8.1 percent, to 293 won
per 1 kg*.
* Agreed at the joint steering committee (vinyl product producers, recycling companies and the Ministry of Environment) on June 28th, 2018. Contribution: 307won/kg→326won/kg(6.2%↑), compensation: 271 won/kg→293won/kg(8.1%↑)
Also, the mandatory recycling
rate of vinyl will be increased.
- The current rate of 66.6
percent will be increased to 90.0 percent by 2022 (a long-term recycling goal).
Revision of the related notifications is in progress to start the increase from
The compensation to recycling
companies will be increased by 17.3 billion won this year through the
aforementioned measures to reinforce vinyl producers’ responsibility for
recycling, including the expansion of EPR items, the increase of recycling
compensation, and the increase of the mandatory recycling rate of vinyl.
* Previous compensation for
recycling companies: 55.3 billion won
The details of the amendment
can be found on the website of the Ministry of Environment (www.me.go.kr). The ministry
will gather the opinions of stakeholders and citizens during the
pre-announcement period and reflect them on the amendment.
“We can’t solve the waste problem through the prevention of plastic bag use and increasing responsibilities of vinyl producers only,” said Shin Sunkyung, Director General of Resource Circulation Bureau of the Ministry of environment. “We need every customer’s voluntary engagement and change of the mindset regarding this issue, such as reducing the use of deposable goods for the environment and future generations, despite a little inconvenience.”
For more information, please contact us :
Public Relations Team (email@example.com)
Last modified : 2017-12-12 08:38
Survey of visitors' satisfaction
We would like to know how satisfied you are with our website in an attempt to provide more improved service. Please rate how satisfied you are with our website.