By law, South Korea mandates electronics companies to retrieve and recycle 49 types of electronics including home appliances. The annual rate that must be achieved is decided by the environment ministry based on annual sales of electronics products of the previous year. Companies must operate a program in which they retrieve recyclable items or pay a fee to special recycling governance.
According to South Korea's statistics information service, a total of 22.4 trillion won ($17 billion) of home appliances were sold domestically in 2020, the first year of the COVID-19 pandemic, up 12 percent on-year. In 2021, the annual sales of home appliances increased 1.5 percent on-year to stand at 22.7 trillion won while the annual sales in 2022 increased 2.7 percent to reach 23.1 trillion won.
Data released by the environment ministry showed on December 12 that shipments of electronics, including home appliances, in the first half of 2023 decreased by 21.6 percent compared to the same period in 2022. Due to the decrease in shipments, the ministry has lowered the total goal for the retrieved recyclable electronics to about 432,000 tons.
The environment ministry said that it decided to set a new standard for the retrieval of used electronics because sales of products were sluggish during the pandemic and slowed sales affected the amount of retrieved recyclable products.
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