Korea initiates the implementation of regulations concerning eco-friendly packaging

Climate change and pollution have become social problems in recent years due to their severity. Especially among “Greensumers,” a group of consumers who seek value-conscious consumption and are enthusiastic about environmental. In recent years, waste generation has become a vital issue in Korea, particularly around the Mid-Autumn Festival and Chuseok Festival. The Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment of Korea entered into a Memorandum of Understanding for the Application of Multiple Packaging with Suwon City, Lotte-Mart, and NS Home Shopping on November 1st, 2020, based on the said memorandum. Items that consumers order from the Lotte Mart or NS Home Shopping in Suwon have to be delivered using reusable packaging. In that year, Coupang,” which is an important online platform in Korea, began to deliver food products in reusable packaging to consumers.

Coupang’s reusable delivery bag

Credit: https://koreajoongangdaily.joins.com/2021/08/03/business/industry/coupang-delivery/20210803174500514.html

The manufacturing and logistics companies in Korea began to participate in this trend, CJ Company removed the plastic lids covering cans of ham and other canned goods and use paper bags instead of spunbonded bags. Additionally, they also expect that participating in this activity can reduce up to 86 tons of plastic waste, 80 tons of carbon dioxide, and a million pieces of spunbonded bags. Lotte-Mart uses paper instead of plastic and foam. In fruit gift wrapping, Dongwon F&B Co., Ltd. uses an “All-paper Package” in gift wrapping. As a result, Dongwon F&B has been able to reduce the amount of plastic used in gift wrapping by 10% and reduce plastic waste by 75 tons per year. An ecologically friendly ice pack for use in food delivery has been created by Vine, a company that creates environmentally friendly packaging materials, and a patent has already been registered. This ice pack includes water, paper, and biodegradable film, which Coupang G-Market and Woowa Brothers have also made available with their services.

All-paper Package from Dongwon F&B

Credit: https://www.behance.net/gallery/127053639/Dongwon-Holiday-Gift-Sets

South Korea enforces a law banning the use of plastic materials that are difficult to recycle, such as PVC and colored plastic bottles for packaging Food and beverage. This is part of South Korea’s goal to reduce the amount of consumption and increase the recycling rate from, 34% to 70% within 2032.

According to the Ministry of Environment, PVC bottles, PET bottles with colored labels attached to PET bottles, and colored labels connected to PET bottles are not authorized because they cause issues or make recycling difficult and produce harmful compounds such as hydrogen chloride and zinc during the recycling process. PET bottles should be colorless, and the label should be easily removed.

However, the ministry continues to authorize the use of PVC as a packaging material for specific types of packaging when there are no viable alternatives, such as medicines, ham, sausages, wet fish wraps, agricultural product packaging, and so on. Those that breach the restrictions will face a temporary sale suspension or a 1 billion KRW punishment.

Korea is more serious about environmental issues. This can be seen from the introduction of regulations on the use of recyclable packaging. It’s time for every country to realize that products and their packaging are environmentally friendly.