South Korea, which has some 80,000 coffee shops, has banned the use of plastic cups in 2018. Coffee shops were ordered to provide mug cups or reusable cups for customers drinking inside. The Ministry of Environment did not ban the use of paper cups and other disposable products such as plastic straws and plastic cup lids.
The environment ministry said in a statement that it has established a step-by-step roadmap to reduce the use of disposable products including packaging by 35 percent by 2022. The government will start by regulating the use of paper cups at coffee shops.
According to the ministry, customers who take out their drinks using paper cups must pay deposits for the disposable packaging in 2021. Plastic bags will be banned from bakeries and convenient stores from 2022 and plastic straws will also be banned from all restaurants including coffee shops and canteens.
The environment ministry said it plans to ban the use of plastic bags in all retail industry by 2030. Amenities such as disposable toothbrushes, disposable razor blades and single-use shampoo packs provided at accommodations like hotels and motels will also be banned in 2024.
Despite the strong pessimistic reaction from consumers and coffee shop owners in 2018, the ban on the use of plastic cups has become part of S. Koreans' everyday lives without much hassle. "Customers use to express anger over the ban on plastic cups when drinking inside. Now, everyone's comfortable with using mug cups inside coffee shops," Jung Hye-in, a 30-year-old coffee shop owner living in Sangju some 165 kilometers (102 miles) southeast of Seoul, told Aju News.
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