To respond to the increased wastes and environmental pollutions arising from unregulated use of disposable products, the scope of businesses and products that are subject to the disposal product regulations will be expanded. However, the Ministry of Environment (“MOE”) announced its plan to introduce a grace period for the time being.
Pursuant to the amendment to Table 2 of the Enforcement Rule of the Act on the Promotion of Saving and Recycling of Resources (“Act”) dated December 31, 2021, the expanded scope of businesses and products subject to the disposable product regulations will become effective on November 24, 2022. Nevertheless, the MOE will implement a “participatory grace period” for one year to encourage businesses to voluntarily reduce the use of disposable products. While administrative fines will not be imposed for any violations during the grace period, the MOE will continue to engage supervisory inspections, including promotional campaigns to boost voluntary participation of businesses and the public.
Key amendments include prohibition of (i) disposable paper cups, plastic straws, and stirring sticks in food service businesses and meal service stores, (ii) plastic bags in general retail stores (e.g., convenience stores) and bakeries just as large-scale stores (over 3,000m2) and supermarkets, (iii) plastic umbrella covers in large-scale stores, and (iv) disposable plastic cheering products in sports facilities (e.g., large sports stadiums). Details of the amendment to the disposable product regulations can be found in the MOE’s “Guideline on the Scope of Application for Reducing the Use of Disposable Products” dated October 2022. Please also note that the Act allows the imposition of an administrative fine not exceeding KRW 3 million for any violation of the disposable product regulations (Article 41, Paragraph 2, Item 3 of the Act). Therefore, an administrative fine may be imposed, once the one year grace period expires.