I’m Good at Recycling. Am I?
I’m Good at Recycling. Am I?
  • Park Jun-young (ST Reporter)
  • 승인 2020.04.09 14:28
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Surely, concern toward the environment became the hot potato last year. ST introduces diverse efforts of people around the world to reduce plastic garbage. ................................................................ Ed

 If the North Pacific Ocean has a GPGP (Great Pacific Garbage Patch), Korea has 235 mountains of garbage. The exact term is “illegal waste,” a mountain of illegally accumulated waste in an empty land where the landfills and incinerators are saturated by daily waste. If you line up the nation’s illegal waste in a ton truck, it will be long enough to go to the moon from the Earth and back. In 2018, China, which bought the most waste plastics in Korea, declared a ban on imports, and it became a serious problem. Worse, plastics, which should be recycled, are also mixed with other garbage. The recycled plastics are not recycled as much as we expected because the conditions in which plastics must be recycled are difficult. There is no distinction in color, and only labels are cleanly removed. Both PET bottles with labels and brown-colored bottles of beer cannot be recycled. Therefore, it is urgent to reduce the amount of plastic used rather than recycling. After realizing the dangers of plastic, many parts of the world have come up with ideas to reduce plastic usage.

Can You Carry This?

  A grocery store in Vancouver, Canada, East West Market is attracting attention by offering shoppers a plastic bag with words that might be somewhat embarrassing to others, such as “authentic video shops” and “wart ointment wholesale” instead of the store’s logo

ST,Park Jun-Young

  Customers have to put their purchases in these plastic bags if they do not have a shopping cart during their visit. The packaging bags paid by the East West Market are inscribed with unusual phrases like “Wart Ointment Wholesale” or “Into the Weird Adult Video.” It is the idea of   the grocery store to encourage citizens to think about climate change through plastic bags with shameful labels to instill changes in behavior of consumers. David Lee Kwen, the president of the company, said that it was not intended to embarrass customers. “We wanted to provide customers with room to think and worry about at the same time through humor,” he said in the British daily newspaper, The Guardian. “It is human nature not to want to hear what to do from others.” The weird plastic bag did not just lead to consumers’ voluntary behavior. It is common to throw away disposable plastic bags, and as the number of people who like plastic bags in the East West Market increases, disposable plastic bags are used more than twice. “Some customers collect plastic bags,” said Kwen. If you hold a plastic bag in East West, your friends and family will sometimes ask you where you are from. It is Mr. Kwen’s expectation that the conversation that started with greetings will naturally lead to the conversation about environmental problems.

Africa Doesn't Like Plastic


  Tanzania announced a nationwide ban on the use of plastic bags on June 1, 2019. It becomes the 34th country to regulate the use of plastic bags in Africa, and follows similar steps taken by Kenya and Rwanda. Rwanda has been in the plastic bag regulation policy for 10 years, and has been making regulations on other plastic products. The regulation is as follows. - If you are caught using a plastic bag in Tanzania, you can be punished by a maximum fine of about 470 million won or a prison sentence of less than two years. Individuals who use a plastic bag should pay a fine of about 15,000 won. The African governments see that the main culprit of environmental problems is plastic, and thus strongly regulate the use of plastic at the government level. The United States, Europe, and Korea are slowly starting regulations under the same conditions.

Shopping Hipsters In Thailand

  The Thai government has not provided plastic bags at department stores, large marts and some retail stores since January 1, and is aiming to ban the use of plastic bags by 2022. Instead, the government has encouraged the public to use a recyclable bag made of cloth.


  The Thai people started to introduce their ideas on SNS. A man uploaded photos of household goods, such as bottled water, on his own cart. Others also laughed with photos of their gardens, travel bags, etc., on SNS. It is a trend in Thailand these days to upload such a pleasant shopping experience to an SNS as a certification shot.


  If you enjoy using these buzzwords, you are surely interested in the environment: “Coffee here (Tumbler),” “No plastic straw,” and “I’ll take it in my bag instead of a plastic bag.” The Earth is already dominated by plastics that you don’t want to use. Even if you take a shopping cart to a mart, fruits are often packaged in wraps or plastic bags, and we are forced to use disposable plastics. Therefore, it is important for consumers to pay more attention to the actions taken by companies and governments, while using plastic products more carefully.

                                                                                                                                       Park Jun-young (ST Reporter)


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