Starting this April, large retail stores, department stores, complex shopping streets, and other large general stores (supermarkets) bigger than 165㎡ are banned from using disposable plastic bags. They may be fined up to 3 million won when violating this law.
The Ministry of Environment led a focused guidance period between January and March of this year for the ban to be effective in practice. Starting on April 1, large-scale stores (2,000 shops including large retail stores) and supermarkets (11,000 and more shops over 165㎡) cannot use disposable plastic bags and packaging. When their violation of the regulation is discovered, fines up to 3 million won will be charged depending on the frequency of violations.
Following the implementation of Act on the Promotion of Recycling of Resources, the Ministry of Environment released a guideline for shopping bags used at department stores, which became a source of controversy.
Department stores and complex shopping malls have been appealing the difficulty of delivery and damage of products when only paper-based shopping bags are used as allowed by the law.
Due to such difficulties of the industry, researchers were urgently called for service, and opinions from experts, local governments, and industry insiders were collected to partially allow the use of coated shopping bags, in consideration of the advancement in recycling technology.
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