In November 2021, the Ministry of Environment revised the enforcement rules to prevent environmental damage caused by the increasing use of disposable products, and accordingly, restaurants and cafes have been restricting the use of disposable paper cups and plastic straws since November 24 last year.
At the time, a one-year transition period was given to consider the burden on small businesses, but it was scheduled to expire on the 23rd of this month.
The ban on single-use disposables is being rescinded. Plastic straws have also been extended indefinitely to be able to use until the quality of alternatives improves and prices stabilize. Many people find paper straws to be expensive (about 2.5 times more expensive than the plastic ones) and inconvenient.
The government will stop cracking down on plastic bag use, including issuing fines. Instead, it will focus on promoting the use of alternatives such as personal shopping bags or biodegradable bags.
In fact, the use of these alternatives has been stabilized. According to the Korea Convenience Store Industry Association, biodegradable bags already accounted for 70% of the bags used by five convenience stores in the first half of this year, while pay-general waste bags accounted for 23.5% and paper bags for 6.1%.
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