Koreans have recently initiated a campaign to replace plastic with paper to protect the environment. But retailers are going one step further by cutting the amount of disposable paper goods used in stores. Here's a look at the retail industry's eco-friendly "green ocean" initiatives.
Paper boxes fall from the sorters to the ground at this recycling plant. About ten tons of paper waste are brought here every day.
[Soundbite] "Almost 80 to 90% are boxes."
Paper cannot be recycled unless it's discarded separately. But very few of the boxes are cleaned of tapes or other impurities. Paper items discarded in standard plastic garbage bags amount to 5,000 tons per day. Retailers have replaced plastic items with paper to protect the environment, but paper goods are not that easy to recycle either. Can the retail industry find a solution to this problem? One delivery company now uses paper tapes. Consumers don't need to remove the tapes to have the boxes recycled. This home shopping company sends out goods in reusable packaging. Unlike ordinary paper boxes, these containers can be collected, washed and reused.
[Soundbite] LIM JAE-HONG(HOME SHOPPING COMPANY EMPLOYEE) : "We decided to use reusable containers because using paper boxes couldn't solve the problem of forest destruction."
This supermarket chain issues electronic receipts instead of paper ones. This decision was made to reduce the amount of discarded paper receipts, which account for half of the paper items thrown away in standard garbage bags.
[Soundbite] LEE JU-HYEON(SEOUL RESIDENT) : "I use mobile receipts ever since they showed me how to get mobile receipts through my smartphone app."
Excessive packaging by retail shops had been blamed for damaging the environment. With increasing calls for eco-friendly measures, however, retailers are now stepping up efforts to stand at the front of the green movement.