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Is Seoul's Single-Use Goods Suppression Sufficient?Disposable Plastic Bag Enforcement ↓ (Part 2)

A ward office worker is conducting a site survey at a supermarket in Eunpyeong-gu, Seoul, on the afternoon of January, when disposable plastic bags are banned at large supermarkets, department stores, and supermarkets. (NEWSIS)

The city has complained about the prosecution of the Ministry of Environment and the National Assembly in connection with the lack of ground law concerning single-use items. City resource recycling official said, "Paper cups and plastic parts are currently legally alienated. There is a pity if there are legal sanctions."

In addition, the Enforcement Regulations of the Resource Recycling Act have been revised, and since last month, large-scale stores, supermarkets, and bakeries have been unable to provide disposable plastic bags free of charge. As a result of the lack of manpower in the relevant departments of the city and the autonomous district, there are no cases in which the fines are imposed as of now.

The prerequisite for the regulation of disposable plastic bags is 'clear standards.' In particular, it is a problem that the inner plastic that comes in direct contact with the product.

The Ministry of Environment and the Seoul Metropolitan Government permit the use of inner vinyl packaging to wrap products with moisture on the surface of food and beverages such as fish, meat, and vegetables and to contain products that generate moisture at room temperature. For this reason, there is a confusion about whether or not to be allowed at sales sites. Some vinyls can be used while others are banned, creating a dissatisfied voice among consumers.

The city official said, "We have asked the Ministry of Environment to clarify the part of the standard itself. The most typical case is the use of inner plastic packaging. We are still waiting for the Ministry to send the plastic classification table."

One month after its implementation, Seoul is looking forward to a change in the citizens' consciousness in response to the slowdown of the Ministry of Environment, which has not yet developed the inner vinyl packaging classification standard.

A city official said, "From my observation, there are many people who bring their own reusable plastic containers when they buy bread. There are people who bring their containers from their homes, even if the products are not individually packaged. The only solution is to change the citizens' consciousness about their choices regarding the consumption of products packaged with plastics. However, there is always a limit, and you cannot watch it forever. Even if it's uncomfortable, citizens should act by their own motivation."

In the civil society, opinions suggest that Seoul should push ahead with the single-use goods suppression policy. They say that rather than waiting for the central government to move, Seoul should lead in establishing and implementing a single-use goods suppression policy.



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