Korea has banned the use of plastic bags in supermarkets. The rules came into effect from Jan. 1 after which time shops were not able to sell plastic bags or give them away for free.
It has long been the case that shoppers had to pay for a single-use bag. However, this is no longer an option. Instead, shoppers will have to either bring their own bags or purchase an alternative — such as a paper or cloth bags.
As well as plastic carrier bags, bags used to hold and weigh fruit and vegetables have also been banned. Customers will only receive plastic bags with wet goods, such as meat and fish.
The law will affect supermarkets larger than 165 square meters. This is around 13,000 supermarkets in Korea; including many on Jeju. Additionally, bakeries will not be allowed to hand out plastic bags.
Retailers who continue to hand out plastic bags could face fines of up to 3 million won.
It is hoped that the policy will reduce the number of plastic bags — a major source of plastic pollution — being used and thrown away throughout Korea. It follows a policy decision made last year that banned cafes from giving plastic cups to customers drinking in the café.
ⓒ Jeju Weekly 2009 (http://www.jejuweekly.com)
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