Seoul, South Korea, Cracking Down on Single-use Plastics

Jun 03 , 2024

South Korea's Seoul government announced on May 20 that starting in September 2024, a revised Seoul Municipal Waste Management Ordinance will go into effect, banning the use of disposable containers at events in Seoul with more than 1,000 attendees.

Event organizers will also be mandated to make plans to reduce waste at the planning stage of the event in order to develop environmentally conscious habits.

Seoul's stadiums and funeral parlors generate a lot of plastic waste due to frequent gatherings and events. The Seoul Metropolitan Government has announced that from the second half of this year, major private funeral parlors, including the Samsung Seoul Hospital Funeral Parlor, will use reusable tableware. Thirty-eight restaurants in Jamsil Baseball Stadium already started using reusable tableware in April this year.

To support the plastic-free transition, the government will provide financial support to relevant organizations and businesses. It is estimated that this initiative will reduce the waste generated by these venues by about 80 percent annually.

The Seoul Metropolitan Government will also fully implement the “Bring Your Own Cup Point Program” from the second half of the year. Consumers who bring their own cups to a franchise store and purchase drinks using a specific payment platform will earn 300 points per purchase, with a maximum of 9,000 points per month, which can be converted into cash.

The push for greener methods is not limited to public gatherings, as reusable containers will be rolled out later this year at major private funeral homes, including Samsung Seoul Hospital Funeral Home.

In addition to these initiatives, the Seoul Metropolitan Government has subsidized the purchase of paper straws or biodegradable straws for small cafes since May 13 to encourage people to ditch plastic straws.

Yonhap News Agency said that thanks to the efforts of various parties, the city has reduced 378 tons of single-use plastic waste in the past two years since the launch of the “Zero Waste Seoul” initiative in 2022, which is equivalent to a reduction of 10.39 million tons of carbon dioxide emissions.


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