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South Korea's per capita plastic consumption ranks third in the world

South Korea's per capita plastic consumption ranks third in the world

2021-11-16

Singapore’s Lianhe Zaobao website recently reported that South Korea’s consumption of disposable plastic products is huge. During the epidemic, as South Koreans generally reduced their outings, more people turned to order takeaways and online shopping. This has led to a significant increase in the use of plastic products such as disposable packaging and take-out boxes in South Korea, and the disposal of plastic waste has once again become a hot topic in Korean society.


According to data from the Ministry of Environment of South Korea, in 2018, South Korea’s national plastic waste production was approximately 3.229594 million tons, an increase of 71.7% in the last 10 years. Affected by the epidemic, the output of plastic waste last year increased by 14.6% over the previous year.


Kim Kyung-min, investigator of the Environmental Labor Division of the Legislative Investigation Office of the Korean National Assembly, pointed out that “Korea’s take-out culture is very developed, but express delivery and take-out bring convenience, but also generate a large amount of packaging waste. The 2020 epidemic has even led to the waste of packaging materials. The further increase in waste has exacerbated the problem of plastic waste disposal.”


According to 2016 data from the European Plastics and Rubber Producers Association, South Korea’s per capita consumption of plastic in 2015 was about 132.6 kg. Among the 63 countries and regions surveyed, only Belgium (170.9 kg) and China had higher plastic consumption than South Korea. Taiwan (141.9 kg).


The South Korean non-governmental organization "Resource Recycling Society Alliance" revealed that in 2015, South Korea used 420 plastic bags per capita per year, which was 100 times that of Finland.


According to the report, the South Korean government began to take active measures after the news of the serious plastic waste problem spread. Large supermarkets in South Korea have banned the use of disposable plastic bags from January 1, 2019. 2000 large supermarkets and 11,000 supermarkets with an area of more than 165 square meters across the country completely banned disposable plastic bags, instead providing customers with environmentally friendly shopping bags, paper bags, etc. At the same time, starting this year, paper cups will be banned in cafes or restaurants, and a fee must be paid when packaging. It is planned to ban plastic straws from 2022.

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