No colour, no PVC: South Korea bans hard-to-recycle plastic materials for F&B packaging
By Pearly Neo
- Last updated on
In January, South Korea enforced regulations banning the usage of plastic materials that are difficult to recycle such as PVC and coloured PET bottles for the packaging of food and beverage items.
This was part of the country’s objective to reduce its plastic waste production by half, as well as more than double recycling rates from 34% to 70% by 2030.
"The comprehensive countermeasures focus on enhancing public management and stabilizing the recycling market,” South Korean Ministry of Environment (MoE) Minister Kim Eun-kyung said.
“The government will be involved in the life cycle of the products, starting from production to the recycling process.”
The ban was implemented by the MoE under the Act on the Promotion of Saving and Recycling of Resources, focusing on PVC (Polyvinyl chloride) and coloured PET (Polyethylene terephthalate) plastic bottles, as these are known to be more difficult to recycle as compared to transparent PET plastic bottles.
In addition to this, MoE stated in the original statement announcing this change that even PET bottle labels that are hard to recycle would be prohibited.
“[The] use of PVC, coloured PET bottles and general adhesive PET bottle labels that cause problems or are difficult to recycle during the recycling process are prohibited from use,” said the ministry.