As representative waste reuse promotion policies, Empty Container Deposit Program and Packaging Container Reuse Program may be cited, and they are as follows.

Empty Container Deposit Program

Background and Significance of the Policy Establishment

The program is a kind of consumer deposit based on polluter pay principle, and it is about ensuring motivation through economic incentives and encouraging retail and wholesale businesses to return empty containers to the manufacturers through the retrieval system in which a consumer is charged an empty container deposit added to the price of liquors or soft drinks, which is to be refunded to the consumer as he or she returns the container.
As for Empty Container Deposit Program, liquors had been managed by National Tax Service (1985) while soft drinks were handled by the Ministry of Health and Welfare (1988) until both came under a consolidated supervision of the Ministry of Environment in January 2003.
While liquors were managed by the National Tax Service (NTS), a liquor manufacturer who wanted to charge deposit at delivery from factory with a view to retrieving containers and packaging materials that could be reused was subject to a regional tax office head's authorization in due observance of the standards set by NTS Director.
On the other hand, soft drinks were managed by the Ministry of Health and Welfare on unclear grounds. In those days, Article 29 of Food Sanitation Act stipulated that food manufacturers must comply with what is specified by the Ministry of Health and Welfare ordinances with regard to quality control among others. And the related enforcement regulation, which stipulated compliance with what is instructed by Minister of Health and Welfare in recognition of its need for achieving food sanitation and food consumer protection including management of a hygienic and efficient use of containers, installed Empty Container Deposit Program with an announcement grounded thereon. But it was at variance with the purpose of Empty Container Deposit Program and was reaching beyond the boundary of delegated legislation, tantamount to virtual absence of legal provision. Afterwards, the amendment of the enforcement regulation on August 31, 1995 stipulated that a business that manufactures or processes food must comply with the requirement related to the implementation of Empty Container Deposit Program as set by Minister of Health and Welfare with a view to promote reuse of containers of soft drinks etc., which again was a practically groundless provision, reaching beyond the purpose of legislation in Article 29 of Food Sanitation Act.
Since Empty Container Deposit Program has been operated on the announcement by NTS Director and Minister of Health and Welfare without a clear legal basis, there existed no adequate sanctions on the case of incompliance. Moreover, because the implementation of the policy on the reuse and recycling of empty containers was divided among NTS, the Ministry of Health and Welfare, and the Ministry of Environment, the policy lacked unity and efficiency, which added to the difficulty of developing policies fitting the purpose of the program. Eyeing a solution to these problems, on February 4, 2002, the amendment of Act on the Promotion of Saving and Recycling of Resources (Article 15-2) provided a clearer legal basis for it and ensured the Ministry of Environment's sole control over the matter. The change also broadened the scope of applicable containers, replacing "Empty Bottle Deposit" with "Empty Container Deposit".


The products that were subject to Empty Container Deposit Program between 2003 and 2011 following the consolidation of the program management under the Ministry of Environment recorded a yearly average of 95% in retrieval rate, with the reuse rate surpassing 85%.

Retrieval rates of empty containers

This demonstrates the excellent aspect of Empty Container Deposit Program that ensures prevention of neglect, diffusion, and abandonment of reusable and recyclable resources and their return to the resource circulation system. It also minimizes the production of new bottles, reducing the import of natural resources, energy used to manufacture bottles and greenhouse gas emission and the economic and environmental benefits are calculated at an annual amount of KRW 607.1 billion.
 Furthermore, the evaluation of implementation of the voluntary agreement signed by ten soju (Korean distilled spirits) manufacturers in March 2010 for sharing soju bottles shows that in July 2011, the ten companies that adopted the standardized bottles collected an annual economic benefit of about KRW 32 billion in saving the cost for new bottles and an annual environmental benefit of about KRW 31.8 billion in reducing CO2 and saving resources and energy.

Reuse of Packaging Containers

Background and Significance of the Policy Establishment

The program recommends businesses to produce products of which a certain amount of packaging containers can be reused. Businesses can save container manufacturing cost and thus production cost, thereby leading to lowered price, while consumers can choose to buy only the contents, which should bring economic benefits and help price stabilization of living necessities, eventually cutting down on wasted resources and contributing to environmental protection.
Reinvigorated production and sales of refillable products has the advantage of not only reducing wastes and saving energy, but also contributing to price stabilization. In this light, to promote the production of products whose containers can be reused, the Ministry of Environment pushed for the amendment of Standards on Product Packaging Materials and Methods in 2003, which stipulated a manufacturer's obligation to make efforts to produce products with reusable containers and a distributor's obligation to cooperate.
Furthermore, to reinvigorate the reuse of containers, the Ministry is pushing for an amendment of Standards on Product Packaging Materials and Methods, which would recommend using of reusable containers to business operators of multi-use facilities including lodging industry, public baths, and training institutes.

Last modified : 2013-10-29 16:59

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