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  • Seoul requires apartment buildings to recycle transparent plastic bottles

  • Press Releases SMG 80
    • After 11 months of pilot operation, Seoul requires all apartment houses to recycle used transparent plastic bottles separately from other plastic wastes.
    • Seoul expects that such a measure will minimize the import of used transparent bottles while increasing the recycling of high-quality materials.
    • Houses will be required to recycle plastic bags and transparent plastic bottles every Thursday from December this year.

    SEOUL, SOUTH KOREA, January 4, 2021 — As the Ministry of Environment of Korea revised the guidelines for recycling recyclable materials, all apartment houses throughout the country are required to recycle used transparent plastic bottles separately from other plastic wastes. Accordingly, they should have collecting bags for used bottles.

    A survey of residents from 15 autonomous districts indicated that 957 apartment blocks (44 percent) out of 2,170 already put collecting bags exclusively for used transparent plastic bottles in place. In the Gangbuk-gu district, 88 percent have it.

    The Seoul Metropolitan Government and its autonomous district offices have been promoting the plan with its pilot operation and various other ways targeting apartment blocks, houses, and commercial buildings in the city from February last year.

    Houses have been provided with collecting bags for transparent plastic bottles. To reduce the financial burden on apartment blocks, the city government supported district offices in early November last year to offer bags to houses for the bottles.

    The city government expects that such a measure will minimize the import of high quality, used transparent bottles. Out of 300,000 tons of transparent plastic bottles manufactured domestically, 80 percent were recycled (240,000 tons) as of 2018, which shows high recycling rates. Since they are recycled mixed with other plastic materials, though, it does not add high value. Only 10 percent of the bottles manufactured (29,000 tons) are made of recycled materials, and the rest is produced with 22,000 tons imported from other countries, including Japan.

    Added value from recycled bottles would help lay the foundation to foster promising industries in the long term, such as clothing made out of recycled fabric. Besides, in cooperation with autonomous districts, the city plans to make used bottles from the city government offices be recycled into actual products to raise awareness and have the system settle soon.

    Houses will be required to recycle plastic bags and transparent plastic bottles every Thursday from December this year. Other recycling materials should be collected on different days than Thursday.

    Jeong Mi-seon, Director of Resources Recycling at the city government, said, “Due to the growing wasted disposables caused by increasing deliveries during the pandemic, the total amount system for waste allowed into landfill in the metropolitan area and the principle of managing waste within the source area, it’s becoming more important to reduce the volume of wasted materials.” She added, “we’d like to ask for your active participation in recycling plastic bags and transparent plastic bottles to ensure more wasted materials will be recycled.”