From now on, used transparent plastic bottles will be separately collected for recycling. Until 2020, 100,000 tons of the bottles will be recycled every year as high-quality recycled materials to be used as textiles for clothing or other purposes, which will reduce the import of used plastic bottles.
Although there were Korean companies that had recycling technologies to make textiles for clothing with used plastic bottles, it was hard to recycle Korean plastic bottles waste due to the debris mixed in during disposal and collection processes.
※ 22,000 tons of used plastic bottles are being imported from Japan and Taiwan each year to make recycled textiles
In order to recycle domestic plastic bottles waste as high-quality products, the Ministry of Environment (Minister Cho Myung-rae) will implement 'Pilot Project for the Separate Disposal of Transparent Used Plastic Bottles' starting this February, and strengthen the cooperation with private actors to develop ways for cleaner collection processes.
'Pilot Project for the Separate Disposal of Transparent Used Plastic Bottles' will be implemented in full swing by six local governments, including Seoul, Busan, Cheonan, Gimhae, Jeju and Seogwipo, from this month.
Specifically, separate collection boxes for transparent used plastic bottles will be installed in apartment houses and main collection facilities, and transparent plastic bags for separate disposal of the bottles will be distributed to single-family houses to facilitate the separate disposal.
Busan, Cheonan, and Gimhae will start the separate disposal from early February. In the case of Seoul, Nowon-gu, Dobong-gu, and Seongbuk-gu, the regions to be verified and analyzed by the Ministry of Environment (Korea Environment Corporation) for this project, will lead this project. Centering around the three districts, each of the 25 autonomous districts of Seoul will start installing separate collection boxes in apartment houses and distributing the plastic bags to single-family houses as soon as possible.
After the evaluation of the results of the pilot project, 'separate disposal of transparent used plastic bottles' will be started nationwide in stages from the second half of this year.
※ The policy will be implemented to every apartment house in Korea from the second half of 2020 → Will be implemented to every single-family house from 2021
Along with the pilot project, the overall recycle systems for used plastic bags and bottles will be verified and analyzed.
The verification and analysis will be carried out in some of the apartment complexes and single-family house areas in the pilot project areas from February to May of this year. In particular, the used plastic bag recycle system generating low values and high debris rates, and the used plastic bottle recycling system, which is the target of the pilot project, will be verified and analyzed.
By evaluating the effects of the regional plastic bottle disposal day policy and the introduction of designated plastic bottle collecting vehicles, the Ministry of Environment will identify the most effective methods for the reasonable separated disposal of plastic bottles and institutionalization of plastic bottle collection processes.
Besides the pilot project, the Ministry will expand joint projects with private actors, including the collection of used plastic bottles through the distribution channels of private companies.
The Ministry will sign a business agreement with Sparkle, Korea Crystal Natural Water, Dongcheonsu, and Sansu for the collection* of clean used plastic bottles through their distribution channels. The expected numbers of bottles to be collected are 10 to 30 tons each month. The bottles will be recycled as filaments for clothing and other materials.
* A way of disposing used plastic bottles upon receiving new products. Customers request "collection of used plastic bottles" in advance when ordering new products and put the used bottles by the front doors, and then the sellers collect the bottles upon delivering the new products.
The Ministry is planning to restrict the import of used plastic bottles gradually after the separate disposal system is in place through the pilot project and other processes.
"We will stop the import of used plastic bottles by increasing the quality of recycling processes of the bottles in Korea," stated Director General Lee Young-gi of the Resources Circulation Bureau of the Ministry of Environment.