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Single-use cup consumption plummets in South Korea

Single-use cup consumption at Korean fast-food restaurants has plunged by 72 per cent, according to a Korea Times report.

The changes have occurred in the year since establishments began to participate in a move initiated by the government to pull back plastics use.

The Korean Ministry of Environment assessed 1000 outlets under 21 brands over the past year, of which 16 were coffee chains (including Starbucks) and five fast-food restaurants (including Lotteria and McDonald’s) all located in metropolitan Incheon and its environs.

The findings showed that 81 per cent of the outlets served beverages in multi-use cups, reducing the stores’ reliance on disposable cups from 206 tons last July to 58 tons in April. All brands assessed offered discounts to customers bringing their own cups, and many replaced plastic drinking straws with other alternatives.

“We can live without disposable products and they can be replaced,” said a ministry official. “It is inconvenient without them, but we have to make the effort.”

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