The South Korean Ministry of Environment (MOE) announced that it will implement comprehensive measures to tackle the growing issue of plastic waste in the country. To cut down on plastic, the government is going to intervene in the processes of production, distribution, collection, and recycling, and it plans to reduce plastic waste production by 50 percent as well as drastically increase the recycling rate from the current 34 to 70 percent all by 2030.

The government plans to form a task force that will be in charge of communication and holding consultative meetings with districts, company officials, and civic groups, Korea Times reports. The task force will make sure that the new measures are effective and accepted in the society.

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“The comprehensive countermeasures focus on enhancing public management and stabilizing the recycling market,” said Kim Eun-kyung, minister of the MOE, announcing the plans at the Sejong Government Complex. “The government will be involved in the life cycle of the products, starting from production to the recycling process. To resolve the plastic waste crisis, society as a whole needs to change its ways of production, consumption, recycling and even the culture.”

As a first step, MOE plans to reduce products that are difficult to recycle. By 2020, the production of all colored plastic bottles will be stopped, since the pigments used in colorful plastics make it difficult for the material to be recycled, and the removal of color has been one of the major problems for recycling companies. Products will be evaluated on the use of colored plastics, compound plastics, and glass bottles – if the products prove unrecyclable or expensive to recycle, companies will have to foot recycling costs. Products that contain harmful components like polyvinyl chloride (PVC) will also be banned under the new rules, and the MOE wants to strengthen restrictions and grading standards on packaging to ensure an excessive amount of materials aren’t wasted on this. Amazingly, they also want to cut the use of disposable cups and plastic bags by 35 percent before 2020!

MOE also plans to hand out guidebooks on the proper way to separate and handle recyclables in the next month – pretty incredible, huh? It is so inspiring to see the serious steps that are being taken to limit the overwhelming use of plastic. Every year, over 8.8 million tons of plastic enter the oceans, so we all need to take this issue seriously and take action to protect the world around us.

To find out how you can help make a change by ditching single-use plastics, check out One Green Planet’s #CrushPlastic campaign!

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