According to data released by the Ministry of Oceans and Fisheries in 2021, more than one million tons of ocean waste were collected across the country. About 50 percent of ocean waste in South Korea was composed of fishnets and buoys made of plastic.
The oceans ministry will launch the ocean waste management committee on December 13 to discuss the establishment of infrastructure that recycles waste materials and distributes them to apparel brands and other companies. The committee will focus on improving technology that reuses discarded materials without changing the chemical structure of their substances.
"Through the task force, we will create management infrastructure to upgrade high-value recycling beyond the conventional method that simply focuses on collecting and processing waste ocean materials," Oceans and Fisheries Minister Cho Seung-hwan said in a statement. The committee hopes to popularize recycling a large number of polyethylene terephthalate (PET) bottles discarded from vessels into fashion items.
South Korean apparel makers have focused on producing clothing brands using recycled materials. BTS has garnered worldwide attention at the 76th United Nations General Assembly for wearing "RE;CODE," a suit made with recycled fabric produced by the fashion wing of South Korea's fabric maker Kolon Group. Seoul-based global apparel brand FILA also released eco-friendly shoes made with recycled materials including recycled cork.
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