From November 24th, South Korea will further expand the scope of restrictions on the use of disposable products, and greatly increase the types of disposable products that are prohibited from being used in business places such as coffee shops and convenience stores. transition period.
According to a document released by the South Korean Ministry of Environment not long ago, in the past five years, major chain coffee shops and fast food restaurants in South Korea have used 870 million disposable cups annually, but the recycling rate is less than 30%. Affected by the new crown pneumonia epidemic, the use of disposable cups in chain stores has further increased, exceeding 1 billion last year. For this reason, the South Korean government has continuously increased its restrictions on the use of disposable products. Since April 1 this year, the South Korean government has issued a policy to prohibit coffee shops, restaurants and other catering service stores across the country from providing cups, plates, chopsticks and other disposable items to dine-in customers, covering 18 categories.
Local governments in South Korea have spared no effort to promote green consumption and reduce the use of disposable items. Since November last year, the Seoul Metropolitan Government has joined hands with more than 20 coffee shops to create a non-disposable cup store. When consumers pack drinks at these coffee shops, they can only use reusable cups and pay an additional deposit. After consumers return the used cups to the recycling equipment specially set up in the store, they can get their deposit back. The returned cups are collected, cleaned, and disinfected by professional cleaning companies, and strict sanitation management is implemented before being resupplied to coffee shops. The Seoul Metropolitan Government plans to further expand the number of coffee shops participating in the project this year, advocating the full use of reusable cups in coffee chains in Seoul.
In response to the government's call, a non-profit entrepreneurial enterprise named "Blue Cup" in Jeju Island also launched a shared thermos cup service. "Use the 'Blue Cup' to start Jeju's environmental protection journey!" In front of a coffee shop in the arrival hall of Jeju International Airport, a blue placard is very eye-catching. Rows of blue shared thermos cups are neatly placed in the disinfection cabinet in the coffee shop. Tourists only need to scan the code with the Korean instant messaging software to use it for free within 7 days. There are already 42 coffee shops in Jeju Island that provide rental and return services for shared thermos cups, and offer different degrees of discounts to tourists who use shared thermos cups to buy drinks.
"We hope to convey the concept of environmental protection through the sharing of thermos cups, so that tourists who come to Jeju Island can actively practice green consumption." Han Jingji, the person in charge of the "Blue Cup" company, introduced that in order to ensure the hygiene of the shared thermos cups, the thermos cups are made of non-toxic, easy-to-clean materials. The dead-end design, the company will clean and disinfect the recycled thermos cups, and then distribute them to cooperative coffee shops. The cups are stored in the disinfection cabinet until they are rented out.
The South Korean Ministry of Environment stated that starting from December 2 this year, Jeju Province and Sejong City will be used as pilots to implement a disposable cup deposit system for various chain stores with more than 100 stores to increase the recycling rate of disposable cups. At that time, when consumers buy drinks in related chain stores, if they use disposable cups, they will need to pay an additional deposit of 300 won (about 1,350 won per US dollar) per cup, and the deposit will be refunded after the cups are recycled. In order to facilitate consumers to return cups, the government will set up additional disposable cup unmanned recycling machines in public places.
(Newspaper, Seoul, November 23rd)
"People's Daily" (version 14, November 24, 2022)
(Editors in charge: Yuan Bo, Hu Yongqiu)
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