Cafes, restaurants to be banned from using disposable items under revised law
According to Yonhap News Agency, Korea’s Ministry of Environment said that Cafes and restaurants will be banned from using disposable products at stores starting next year to reduce plastic waste spiking amid the pandemic, the environment ministry said.
The ministry has recently put up an administrative notice that a revised law prohibiting the use of disposable items, such as paper cups and plastic straws, inside cafes, fast food chains and other restaurants will go into effect in January, or next month at the earliest.
The government had initially banned plastic use by law in August 2018 but added an enforcement decree to the law after COVID-19 broke out to temporarily allow the use of disposable items due to concerns over virus transmissions through multiuse items.
The ministry said the decree was recently deleted to deal with waste problems as the use of disposable products surged amid the pandemic.
Under the new revision, cafes and eateries could face fines according to the frequency of violation of the plastic-ban policy and the size of their stores.
Besides, the use of plastic bags will now be prohibited at retailers and bakeries, expanding a ban that currently applies to large stores and supermarkets occupying a space of at least 3,000 square meters and 165 square meters, respectively.
The revisions also restrict the use of disposable items by food delivery services, hotels with 50 or more rooms and funeral homes fitted with washing facilities.
Starting in 2023, LED lamps will become a must-recycle item that has to be disposed of in designated collection boxes in apartment compounds.
Producers of LED lamps will be required to recycle 109,000 tons, or about 16 percent, of their estimated 2023 output of 693,000 tons.
In 2028, the percentage will be set higher to around 42 percent.
Meanwhile, new packaging regulations will require producers to make easily recyclable wrapping material according to a set thickness, color and weight ratio.
To encourage the use of glass and other substitutes for plastic containers, importers and sellers of plastic goods will be asked to meet a target ratio of plastic use and face a fine of 10 million won (US$9,074) in the event of repeated failures.