850 tons of plastic, 100 tons of styrofoam and a thousand tons of plastic bags.
That’s the amount of trash that is thrown out in a single day in South Korea.
Demand for delivery services has increased dramatically due to COVID-19, and with it, an increase in plastic packaging.
With the data limited to the first half of the year, the amount of waste is expected to have increased further under the recent stricter social distancing.
In response, the government has come up with measures to reduce the disposal of plastics in all process production, distribution and consumption as well as increase recycling.
This follows the government’s consensus that transitioning to a “no-plastic” society is essential for achieving net-zero carbon targets by 2050.

“The government will extend the types of businesses that aren’t allowed to use disposable packaging, and strictly limit repacking and double-packing until we get rid of single-use plastic in entire sectors.”

Under the plans to get rid of plastic, the Environment Ministry plans to reduce the disposal of plastic by 20 percent by the year 2025.
And it aims to increase the proportion of recycled plastic to 70 percent from current 54 percent.
In the long term, the government aims to reduce greenhouse gas emissions caused by plastic by 30 percent in the next ten years as well as transitioning 100 percent to biodegradable, environmentally friendly bio-plastics by 2050.
To reach such goals, plans are in place to minimize production and use of plastic containers.
For instance, plastic dishes used in delivery services will gradually be limitedby restricting the thickness of plates depending on the kind of food and type of holder.
Starting in June 2022, stores will have to pay deposits for using plastic cups, and apartment complex recycling areas will have to sort plastics into four types.
Importing waste plastic from other countries will be completely banned.
Choi Jeong-yoon, Arirang News.

Reporter : jychoi@arirang.com

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