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[2015] Mayor’s Speech

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  • Dreaming Together of Seoul as a City of Recycling and Upcycling

  • SMG 1747

    Groundbreaking ceremony for the Seoul Recycling Center and announcement of the Seoul Vision 2020 as a resource recycling city

    Date: 4/2/2015
    Venue: Jungnang Water Recycling Center, Seongdong-gu

    Chairman Park Nea-hak of the Seoul Metropolitan Council, Rep. Hong Ik-pyo of the National Assembly, Mr. Jeong Won-o, Head of the Seongdong-Gu Office, President Kim Yeong-hyeon of Dongwon Construction Industry, President Park Do-gwon of Samoo Architects & Engineers, and distinguished guests,

    First of all, I would like to extend my deep thanks to each one of you for giving life to this event by being present at the groundbreaking ceremony for the Seoul Recycling Center, which will make Seoul into a world-class city of recycling and upcycling.

    Do you happen to know what Lee Hyo-ri has in common with Gong Hyo-jin? The answer is that they are both trendsetters and fashion leaders taking part in the upcycle movement. Did you notice the eco-bag carried by Ms. Gong on her shoulder in the TV drama “It’s OK, That’s Love?”

    Many large cities of the world are already playing a leading role in the era of upcycling. Some people in New York are selling garbage as souvenirs. We need to view ideas such as these as innovations and inspirations for Seoul. Freitag of Switzerland has become a front-runner of upcycling by making hand-made bags using waste tarpaulin sheets and bike safety belts. It has also become a symbol of ethical businesses. We need to think ways to help domestic businesses like ECO PARTY MEARRY and TOUCH4GOOD operate as freely as possible.

    If we are to cope with climate change and resource shortages, live a sustainable life, and open a new page to the future, we need to change the way we view our resources. Our future depends on how we regenerate resources by adding new value to existing resources and recycling them continuously. We should reestablish the concept of resource cycling by creating new values for them beyond simply reducing and recycling waste.

    This groundbreaking ceremony for the Seoul Recycling Center will be a historical starting point for Seoul’s jump forward as a world-class city of recycling and reusing, ahead of even New York and Freiburg. The Seoul Recycling Plaza will serve as a hub of the domestic upcycle industry, boosting the domestic industry of reuse and remanufacturing industries, and creating many new jobs.

    We at the SMG set up a plan to make this place a place where people get hands-on experience with upcycling through consultation with experts. First of all, we designed the outward appearance of the building in a way that will symbolize the culture of reuse, where small efforts make a big difference. About 35% of the energy required by the building will be met by new/renewable energy like solar and thermal heat. The building will consume about a fifth of that of the energy of ordinary buildings. As for water for bathrooms and plant life, the requirement will be met with recycled water from the Jungnang Water Recycling Center. The building will also be barrier-free. The inside of the plaza will be composed of a space where second-hand goods are turned into new goods, a workshop where recycling workers produce upcycled goods using recycled materials, a material storage space where waste fabric and leather are kept for future use, a space for displaying well-known artists’ works, a space for selling upcycled goods, and a space for giving people a hands-on experience with these new ideas.

    By 2017, when the work for the plaza is completed, the work for the modernization of the Jungnang Water Recycling Center near the plaza will also be completed, housing a wastewater museum and a park. Janganpyeong will be reborn as a world-class neighborhood of upcycling and recycling. The secondhand car market in the area will also become a modern facility.

    Before long, Seoul will have a world-class redesign business like Freitag of Switzerland and Vaho of Spain. The Recycling Plaza will be a first-rate tourist destination, known for its innovative recycling.

    Will this be the very thing required by the Creative Economy? Today, I would like to talk about Seoul’s Vision 2030 as a world-class, resource-recycling city on the occasion of this ceremony.

    This year marks the 20th anniversary of the launch of the pay-per-bag system for household trash, the tenth anniversary of the prohibition on burying food waste directly in the ground, and the first year of the prohibition on burying waste from Seoul directly in the ground. It is time to come up with new, imaginative, and fresh ideas to be prepared for the new future. In particular, the culture of recycling and reuse should become part of our daily lives. We must establish a Seoul-type resource-recycling ecosystem. We will put an end to the practice of burying household waste directly in the ground by 2017. We will improve the system for separate collection of waste and upgrade the rate of recycling to 75% higher than any other city in the world by 2030 through relevant education sessions and encouraging people’s participation.

    We will turn Janganpyeong into a world-class town of upcycling and recycling. We will make Seoul a world-class city of recycling in linkage with the projects for modernization of the second-hand car market and the Jungnang Water Recycling Center, through the establishment of a wastewater museum and the Urban Mining Project, utilizing the Seoul Recycling Plaza as a foothold. Seoul will become a city where marketplaces for sharing are an everyday scene, and the culture of reuse will be shared by all.

    We will make 300 cooperatives for resource recycling and create 20,000 jobs through these facilities. We will establish a sustainable, self-reliant system and make a thousand upcycle businesses. Seoul will be a welfare city offering a number of great employment opportunities.

    Seoul will be a city that engages in resource recycling together with people. Relevant businesses, including those producing a large amount of disposable goods, will be made to take a more responsible stance. People will be encouraged to take part in the campaign designed to reduce trash. Businesses will be made to use pay-per-bags with their real names printed on them. We will establish a system for the joint disposal of waste with local governments close to Seoul. We will encourage the 25 autonomous districts in Seoul to use resource facilities jointly.

    In addition, we will enact basic municipal ordinances about resource recycling and start a campaign for getting rid of plastic bags, disposable goods, and oversized packing. We will lay a solid basis for the disposal of household food waste and for the stabilization of the market for recycled goods.

    This vision is the result of collecting the opinions of many experts and citizens. We will continue to strive to improve this vision in cooperation with the Civic Movement Headquarters in each unit project.

    Let’s imagine what will happen in 2030, when the vision becomes a reality. Every bit of trash produced in Seoul will be born with new value. No trash will be sent out of Seoul as worthless items.
    Every neighborhood will have a marketplace for sharing. The practice of reusing will be people’s happy daily routine. Trash will become resources, distributed in a virtuous cycle of a resource ecosystem. The process will create jobs. Seoul will stand tall as a world-class city of the upcycling industry, where young designers dream of starting up their own businesses. What a nice vision it is! I would like to make this dream a reality together with you. As Yoko Ono put it, “A dream you dream alone is only a dream. A dream you dream together is reality.”

    Great people make great cities. Let’s make Seoul a world-class city of recycling and reuse together – a city where people live a happy daily life, and can look forward to a sustainable future. Salgoji Bridge (Treasure No. 1,738), which was the longest bridge during the Joseon Period, is located in Haengdang-dong, next to the Recycling Plaza. The bridge has been there for more than 500 years since it was first constructed in 1483. It was able to last so long thanks to its solid foundation. We at the SMG will lay the solid groundwork for Seoul as a world-class city of resource recycling, just as the workers who built the bridge did, by building the Seoul Recycling Plaza as a well-built, solid structure. Thank you.