South Korea to introduce disposable cup deposits

South Korea is set to introduce disposable cup deposits at coffee shops and fast-food outlets, starting 2022, in its latest efforts to cut carbon emissions.

Under a set of bills approved in Parliament this week, businesses will factor the deposits into prices and refund the amount when customers return used disposable cups. It usually takes from six months to two years for passed bills to go into effect.

The country’s environment ministry said it plans to set the value of disposable cup deposits based on manufacturing costs and policy needs.

The ministry expects the policy to help reduce carbon emissions by 66 per cent by boosting recycling and cutting costs related to waste incineration.

It estimated the economic benefits coming from the plan would total 44.5 billion won (US$36.2 million) each year.

The ministry also plans to minimise inconvenience by allowing consumers to return the cups anywhere (ie: not from where the cup was purchased) through talks with relevant industries.


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