SEOUL, SOUTH KOREA, November 8, 2021 – The Seoul Metropolitan Government has kicked off a pilot campaign encouraging citizens and coffee shops not to use disposable beverage cups on November 6. Such an initiative is designed to reduce rapidly increasing volumes of single-use cup waste. Around 20 cafes located in the City Hall’s neighborhood area are joining the campaign.
According to the campaign, consumers put down a deposit of 1,000 won (about 1 dollar) when ordering their coffees or teas to go using reusable cups. They can return the used cups to one of the return boxes placed at cafes participating in the campaign. When returning the cup, consumers can get the deposit back in cash or earn “Happy Habit” points which they can use later at cafes. Collected cups will be thoroughly cleaned and sterilized before they are re-provided to the cafes. By joining the campaign without carrying a tumbler, anyone can participate in environmental protection.
Starbucks, Dal.komm Coffee, and SK Telecom, as well as five privately-owned small cafes near the City Hall, are expected to take part in the campaign. The city said that it will continue to encourage more cafes to participate in the campaign during the test operation period.
The reusable cups used during the pilot campaign are made with safe material and do not contain endocrine-disrupting chemicals, especially at high temperatures. They are also made colorless with a single material so that they can be recycled more when discarded.
The Seoul Metropolitan Government will conduct the pilot campaign until the end of February 2022 and analyze its results and effectiveness to expand the number of coffee houses not using one-time-use cups. Seoul aims at introducing the mandatory use of reusable cups at all café franchises throughout the city.
Seoul also plans to come up with measures to recycle other disposable items and coffee grounds at the cafes so as to reduce the volume of waste generated from coffee shops and create an ecofriendly consumption environment by recycling them. Besides, it will work together with related organizations to achieve the goal of making disposable waste-free cafes.
“Through this pilot campaign, Seoul will make cooperation with the private sector so as to provide an environment where many citizens can use reusable cups instead of single-use cups at cafes. We will make efforts to reduce the volume of disposable cups in the first place, establishing the ecofriendly consumption culture.” said Yoo Yeon-sik, Deputy Mayor for Climate & Environment at the Seoul Metropolitan Government.