Special rules for plastic packaging not compatible with EU law

A legal assessment shows that the special rules for plastic packaging and exemptions for other packaging materials discussed as part of the planned EU Packaging Regulation (PPWR) are very likely not compatible with EU law. 

According to the report, provisions that, for example, only prohibit plastic packaging require it to be reused or exempt coated paper packaging from the recycled content quotes, very likely violate the principle of equal treatment because there are no objective reasons for such unequal treatment. The legal experts also criticise procedural infringements because the Parliament and Council have not taken all relevant factors into account in their proposals. In a joint appeal, the associations EuPC, IK and Elipso, which commissioned the legal assessment, call on the Member States and the European Parliament to remove the material-specific special rules in the ongoing trilogue negotiations to create legal and planning certainty for companies. 

The assessment by the international law firm Dentons concludes that all the special rules for plastic packaging and exemptions for other materials analysed most likely violate the EU principle of equal treatment because, with a high probability, they discriminate against plastic packaging. Such discrimination is counterproductive to the objectives of the PPWR because it is very likely to lead to environmental problems by replacing light and easily recyclable plastic packaging with heavier and less recyclable packaging materials, causing an increase in the amount of packaging waste and greenhouse gas emissions. 

The report shows, among other things, that the bans on plastic film for a 6-pack of bottles or plastic packaging for unprocessed fruit and vegetables are not compatible with EU law. 

Plastic packaging manufacturers have long called for a return to EU-wide harmonised applied packaging rules. ​ However, the legal fragility of the text, as currently proposed, will very likely lead to an avalanche of European or national legal disputes and, as a result, to instability of the framework and the undermining of the circular economy for packaging that it aims to establish. This is why the three associations are calling on the European legislator to guarantee the legal certainty of this text. 

Source: EuPC 

An Phat Holdings summarizes 2023 and deploys tasks in 2024

On January 19, 2024, An Phat Holdings had a closing ceremony to wrap up the year 2023 and kick off their 2024 plan. The ceremony was attended by Group Chairman Pham Anh Duong, representatives of the Board of Directors, senior managers of subsidiaries, and employees of the Group.

The year 2023 has brought about numerous challenges and changes for businesses, and An Phat Holdings is no exception. Nonetheless, the company has achieved positive results amidst these difficulties through its continuous efforts guided by the motto “Efforts to accelerate – Overcoming all barriers – Reaching for breakthroughs”. As a result, An Phat Holdings has solidified its position as a leader in Southeast Asia’s high-tech and environmentally friendly plastic manufacturing sector.

At the ceremony, CEO Pham Do Huy Cuong summarized the business situation in 2023 and presented the orientation and plans for 2024. He informed that in 2023, An Phat Holdings archived positive results. Following that, in 2024, the Group continued to target 3 goals: growth profit, system upgradation, and new project development.

During the ceremony, Chairman Pham Anh Duong recognized and appreciated the Group’s achievements in 2023, particularly their perseverance in overcoming challenges. The Chairman shared that in 2024, there will be turbulences, the Group must prepare the script to adapt to the new global situation.

Another new year has come, the Chairman wishes the Group to continue to research new projects and products that are effective in the forecasted situation. Besides, the employees also continue to develop excellent dignity in An Phat human.

Also on this occasion, in addition to wise directions and directions, the Group’s Board of Directors awarded rewards to affiliates who completed the 2023 plan to recognize their dedication, including An Phat Bioplastics, An Tien Industries, Real Estate Industrial Park sector, An Cuong Building Materials, Hanoi Plastics.

Representative of Hanoi Plastics, CEO Ngo Van Thu expressed: “We have archived this success thanks to the Group’s BoD creating a mechanism to empower subsidiaries to be autonomous in decisions and unleash creativity. It is also impossible to mention the solidarity, and the dedicated, dynamic team to complete the plan of 2023. In 2024, we believe that under the wise direction of BoD, with the dedication of employees, An Phat Holdings will surely reach the finish line”.

An Phat Holdings also recognized and rewarded its employees for their dedication and innovative contributions. The Group awarded An Phat Gold Badges to those who have worked with them for 10 years and also expressed their gratitude towards individuals who came up with innovative ideas that have positively impacted the Group’s production and business activities.

In 2023, An Phat Holdings made significant progress in the US market by signing memorandums of understanding with US partners. They also deployed commercial services that facilitated trade between the two countries. Additionally, the AnEco product brand was awarded The Polaris – Seller of the Year award. This is the highest award given to honor the most outstanding Vietnamese seller with remarkable activities on Amazon in 2023.

Besides, innovations in management and technological innovations also contribute significantly to the Group’s success. The achieved successes have also shown the immense power of Solidarity and Consensus and this will also be a guideline for the Group to develop stronger in 2024 and the following years.

Some pictures at the closing ceremony:

CEO Pham Do Huy Cuong presented the Group's plan for 2024
CEO Pham Do Huy Cuong presented the Group’s plan for 2024
The Group's Board of Directors awards subsidiaries with outstanding achievements in 2023
The Group’s Board of Directors awards subsidiaries with outstanding achievements in 2023
The Group's Board of Directors awards individuals who contribute innovative ideas to production and business activities
The Group’s Board of Directors awards individuals who contribute innovative ideas to production and business activities
An Phat Holdings honors employees with 10 years of experience working at the Group
An Phat Holdings honors employees with 10 years of experience working at the Group

Amazon’s boss praised the Aneco brand

Ông Eric Broussard – Phó Chủ tịch tập đoàn Amazon Khối dịch vụ Đối tác Bán hàng Quốc tế

17 million Vietnamese brand products have been sold on Amazon in just the past year, including brands favored by Americans, notably Aneco. 

At the 2023 Cross-Border E-commerce Conference themed “Steadfast Growth” organized by Amazon Global Selling in Vietnam recently, Mr. Eric Broussard – Vice President, International Marketplaces and Retail, gave a long report on market potential and opportunities for Vietnamese brands. 

Mr. Eric Broussard – Vice President, International Marketplaces and Retail
Mr. Eric Broussard – Vice President, International Marketplaces and Retail

“Our Vietnamese sellers have recently sold more than 17 million products on Amazon Global Selling,” Mr. Eric Broussard revealed figures for 2023. On average, each month there are 1.4 million Vietnamese brand products are sold on the world’s largest e-commerce platform and Amazon’s boss also personally mentioned the prominent Vietnamese brand Aneco. 

“This product is very successful in the US. This is a great product, designed and manufactured in Vietnam. Customers looked up the product at 8 pm and saw that we are fully committed to delivery free at 11:00 a.m. the next day, regardless of whether the customer is in any state in the US. That is the power of Vietnamese brands which bring to any customer globally,” Mr. Eric Broussard expressed excitement when talking about Aneco products. 

Aneco is a brand belonging to the ecosystem of An Phat Holdings – one of the leading giants in the plastic industry in Vietnam and Southeast Asia, owning the largest green material factory in Southeast Asia. 

Aneco products are sold on the Amazon e-commerce platform
Aneco products are sold on the Amazon e-commerce platform

Mr. Nguyen Le Thang Long – Deputy CEO of An Phat Holdings Group shared how this brand found its way to sell on Amazon. A specific business strategy has also been implemented. 

At first, the Aneco brand focused on testing 3 different product lines to find the most suitable product on the floor. 

– Popular product: Small compostable trash bags 

This type of product has been sold a lot on Amazon, has a large “piece of cake” and is expected to continue to grow. At that time, similar products mainly came from China. With a belief in Made in Vietnam products, the team is confident in their sales ability. 

– Unprecedented product: Compostable tablecloth 

The Aneco team found out that most of the tablecloths being sold on Amazon are traditional brands, and no one has made compostable plastic. 

– Product in development stage: Large compostable trash bags 

Technically, this product is more difficult to produce because compostable bag products are often softer and easier to break than regular plastic products. The Aneco team researches and reads comments that consumers “criticize” other brands to find ways to improve, thereby offering better products. 

According to the Deputy CEO of An Phat Holdings, compostable tablecloths, and large trash bags are currently the two most successful products of Aneco on Amazon. In the past 3 years, Aneco tablecloths have always been in the Top 1 of this product line on Amazon, thanks to its pioneering. Large trash bag products also maintain the Top 2 position in the market. 

“In Amazon, there is a ready market so we can experiment. When you find that the product is not suitable, it must be changed immediately. Keep track of information and data daily and monthly. Focus on reading customer reviews about your products and those of your competitors, then adjust to meet customer needs. The American market is very fair and straightforward, if they are not satisfied they will say it immediately. The more difficult a market is, the faster our brand will mature. When we can do that, we will have continuous growth,” An Phat Holdings representative said. 

Hong Kong to ban throwaway plastic tableware from April 2024

Hong Kong will ban throwaway plastic tableware from restaurants from April 22 next year, a few months later than first planned, after lawmakers approved the legislation on Wednesday.

The ban will come into force just weeks after charging for municipal solid waste bags starts on April 1, and some lawmakers said they had concerns about potential problems from the two policies coming into force in quick succession.

“The close commencement dates will create difficulties for the industry,” Tommy Cheung Yu-yan, of the catering functional constituency, predicted.

“I hope the ban will not be introduced before May 1 so as to give the industry some more space between the waste charging and this ban.”

Cheung also appealed to restaurants to avoid building up stocks of single-use plastics to avoid a breach of the new rules after the law changes and to source alternatives as soon as possible.

The ban will be introduced in two phases, with the first prohibiting the sale and distribution of disposable plastic tableware, such as expanded polystyrene containers, plastic straws, stirrers and cutlery.

The first phase also covers products that have non-plastic alternatives, such as cotton buds, umbrella covers and glow sticks.

Hotels and guest houses will be barred from supplying toiletries in synthetic disposable containers and free in-room water in plastic bottles.

Phase two, which could start as early as 2025, will outlaw plastic food containers and the free distribution of products such as plastic-stemmed dental floss and earplugs.

Environmental authorities have set up an online platform with advice on non-plastic disposable tableware supply, renting cutlery and cleaning services to help the catering industry, suppliers and the public.

The Environment and Ecology Bureau in March said it aimed to start the ban late this year or at the beginning of 2024 “at the earliest”.

But it said last week that the new law would come into effect in the second quarter of next year.
Lawmaker Elizabeth Quat, the chairwoman of the environmental affairs panel, explained the legislation would have “a far-reaching impact, not only on people’s lives, but also on the industry” and needed detailed discussions to clear up misunderstandings.

Secretary for Environment and Ecology, Tse Chin-wan said authorities would mostly issue warnings to offenders in the first two months of the ban, but would then move to enforcement action.
The Environmental Protection Department will also set up a telephone hotline to deal with public inquiries and complaints, he added.

Lawmaker Cheung asked environmental officials to assess the ban’s impact on the economy and the public before phase two began.

“If the impact is serious, I think authorities shouldn’t be afraid to wait a little longer,” he said.
Gary Chan Hak-kan, of the Democratic Alliance for the Betterment and Progress of Hong Kong, said the government should help change restaurants’ habits, as they now tended to include single-use cutlery in takeaway orders.

Wholesale and retail sector lawmaker Peter Shiu Ka-fai warned the public to be prepared for restaurateurs to pass on additional costs to them.

“There’s no such thing as a free lunch,” he said. “The price difference between plastic tableware and substitute products for takeout is not by a few percentage points, but maybe by several times.”
Shiu also appealed to authorities to encourage employers to acquire reusable utensils for their staff.
Tony Tse Wai-chuen, of the architectural, surveying, planning and landscape functional constituency, added the government should increase its efforts to promote reuse and recycling to cut waste at source.

But environmentalists appealed to the government to introduce the ban as soon as possible and to avoid delays to the introduction of phase two.

“Early implementation of the single-use plastics ban can help residents change their living habits before the implementation of garbage charges on April 1,” Greeners Action’s Beatrice Siu Wing-yin said.
“Now that the two laws will come into force only 22 days apart, people have to adapt to both in a short time, which may cause a more tremendous backlash than the original arrangement.”

Greenpeace campaigner Leanne Tam Wing-lam said the government should give a firm start date for phase two and launch a publicity campaign.

“Besides banning plastics, governments in other places are investing resources to promote reuse to replace disposable tableware,” Tam said. “Otherwise, the industry will switch to disposable tableware made of other materials, significantly reducing the effectiveness of waste reduction.”

The solid waste charging scheme will mean the public must buy government-designated plastic bags, which will come in nine sizes, with each litre of capacity priced at 11 HK cents (1.4 US cents).
There will also be a six-month grace period after the regulation comes into force.

U.S. Democrats introduce bill to tax ‘virgin plastic’ sales, including imports

Democrats in the House and Senate on Tuesday introduced a bill to curb plastic waste by imposing a new tax on U.S. manufacturers, producers and importers of “virgin plastic” resin destined for single-use plastics.

Sen. Shelden Whitehouse (D-OH), who sits on the Senate Finance and Environment and Public Works committees, and Rep. Lloyd Doggett (D-TX) of the House Ways & Means Committee introduced the “REDUCE Act,” which would initially add an excise tax of 10 cents per pound (eventually rising to 20 cents) to sales of virgin plastic resin used in single-use products like packaging, food and drink containers and bags, according to a Sept.19 statement from Doggett’s office.

A spokesperson in Doggett’s office told Inside U.S. Trade the tax would be applied to imported products and “any company – U.S. or foreign – would be impacted.”

Virgin plastic resin, manufactured from natural resources, has not been previously used in consumer goods, while recycled plastic resin is derived from used plastic products. Every year, each American produces around 221 kilograms of plastic waste, according to the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, and lawmakers are exploring ways to promote recycling and reduce plastic pollution.

“We are living with a flood of plastic pollution,” said Whitehouse, a longtime environmental advocate, in Tuesday’s statement. “A polluter fee would hold the biggest plastics companies accountable for the damage they’ve caused and increase the amount of plastic that actually gets recycled.”

Exports and recycled plastic resin would be exempt. The bill also includes several carveouts for virgin plastics used to make medical products and packaging, personal hygiene products and for use in the shipment of hazardous materials. Small businesses also would be exempt, as would importers of small amounts of plastics.

The bill is not Whitehouse’s first attempt to implement an excise tax on virgin plastic resin. In 2021, the senator introduced a similar bill that did not advance past the committee stage. Critics of that bill, including the TaxFoundation – a tax policy think tank in Washington, DC – argued that the bill’s rebate for exempted products would place new and unnecessary administrative burdens on companies.

This time, lawmakers worked with the Treasury Department and the Internal Revenue Service “to design an up-front exemption for companies that go through an annual registration process and certify that the resin they make will not be used to make single-use products,” Doggett’s spokesperson told Inside U.S. Trade, saying the approach would resemble mechanisms used in other tax systems.

“Companies that claim they don’t know or can’t certify that their resin won’t be used for single-use products would still have to pay the tax up-front and go through the rebate process,” the spokesperson added.

“We’re excited to see the feedback was taken,” said Adam Hoffer, director of excise tax policy at the TaxFoundation.

Several leading environmental groups, including Greenpeace, Oceana, the Plastic Pollution Coalition and the World Wildlife Fund, have endorsed the legislation, the Doggett statement says.

Source: insidetrade.com

Japanese scientists find microplastics are present in clouds

Japanese scientists have found between 6.7 and 13.9 pieces of microplastic in each litre of cloud water tested.

Researchers in Japan have confirmed that microplastics are present in clouds, where they are likely affecting the climate in ways that are not yet fully understood.

 

Các nhà khoa học đã tìm thấy hạt vi nhựa trong các đám mây trên đỉnh núi Phú Sỹ (Nhật Bản). Ảnh: Flickr

In a study published in the journal Environmental Chemistry Letters, Japanese scientists climbed Mount Fuji and Mount Oyama in order to collect water from the mists that shroud the peaks, then applied advanced imaging techniques to the samples to determine their physical and chemical properties.

The team identified nine different types of polymers and one type of rubber in the airborne microplastics, which ranged in size from 7.1 to 94.6 micrometres.

Each litre (0.26 gallon) of cloud water tested contained between 6.7 to 13.9 pieces of the plastics.

“If the issue of ‘plastic air pollution’ is not addressed proactively, climate change and ecological risks may become a reality, causing irreversible and serious environmental damage in the future,” lead author of the research, Hiroshi Okochi of Waseda University, warned in a statement on Wednesday.

When microplastics reach the upper atmosphere and are exposed to ultraviolet radiation from sunlight, they degrade, contributing to greenhouse gasses, Okochi said.

Microplastics – which are defined as plastic particles under 5 millimetres that come from industrial effluent, textiles, synthetic car tires, personal care products and other sources – have already been discovered inside fish, peppering Arctic sea ice, and in the snows on the Pyrenees mountains between France and Spain.

However, the mechanisms of their transport to such varied locations had remained unclear, with research on airborne microplastic transport in particular being limited.

“To the best of our knowledge, this is the first report on airborne microplastics in cloud water,” the authors wrote in their paper.

Waseda University said in a statement on Wednesday that research shows that “microplastics are ingested or inhaled by humans and animals alike and have been detected in multiple organs such as lung, heart, blood, placenta, and faeces”.

“Ten million tons of these plastic bits end up in the ocean, released with the ocean spray, and find their way into the atmosphere. This implies that microplastics may have become an essential component of clouds, contaminating nearly everything we eat and drink via ‘plastic rainfall’”, the university said in announcing the new research findings.

Emerging evidence has linked microplastics to a range of effects on heart and lung health, as well as cancers, in addition to widespread environmental harm.

61,000 kilometers, 1,500 runners attending the race to celebrate An Phat Holdings’ 21st anniversary

On September 24, 2023, at An Phat 1 Industrial Park (Hai Duong), an offline race officially took place, ending a series of running events both online and offline on the occasion of the anniversary of 21 years of establishment of An Phat Holdings. With the theme “Accelerated – Breakthrough – Master the future”, the 21-year race of An Phat Holdings gathered more than 1,500 runners throughout the Group. 

Specifically, with the online format, the 21-day online race recorded the participation of more than 1,000 employees in Vietnam and other countries. The participation of each employee also contributes 100,000 VND/runner to the An Phat fund (minimum 5 km/21 days) to help employees in need. Meanwhile, the offline race took place at An Phat 1 Industrial Park (Hai Duong) have the participation of more than 500 runners, competing at distances of 5, 10, and 15 kilometers. 

61,000 kilometers run, more than 1,500 runners, these are the achievements recorded in the An Phat Holdings’ 21-year race. 

Speaking at the opening ceremony, CEO of An Phat Holdings Pham Do Huy Cuong said: “Through this series of online and offline races, I have seen and appreciated all employees’ spirit of enthusiasm and endeavor to exceed the set target. It can be said that every time we exceed a goal, we step over our limits. Turning 21, I hope that our employees will bring the enthusiastic and vibrant spirit of youth to devote themselves, conquer challenges, and be ready to help An Phat Holdings ‘Accelerated – Breakthrough – Master the future’ in the coming period!”. 

Representatives of BoD of An Phat Holdings awarded the medal to opening the offline race held at An Phat 1 Industrial Park (Hai Duong)

The 21 years of An Phat Holdings race Accelerated – Breakthrough – Master the future” is not only an activity that unites An Phat people but also carries many noble and humane meanings, which aim to promote the spirit, unite, practice strong will and spirit, while contributing practical values to the community. In the new period, An Phat Holdings aims to build a global Vietnamese brand, develop sustainable businesses, and contribute to the community and society. 

Runners competed at the race this morning

After 21 years of establishment and development, An Phat Holdings has left unforgettable remarks in the market, such as becoming Southeast Asia’s largest thin monolayer film producer with many large-scale projects and owning 18 subsidiaries in diversified industries and fields. An Phat Holdings’ products are present in 70 countries and territories, such as the US, Japan, Europe, Korea, Singapore, the Arab Emirates, Taiwan, and the Philippines… Besides production and business activities, An Phat Holdings is also well-known for its CSR activities. 

Other photos at the race this morning: 

Plastic businesses need a roadmap to convert to green product production

Although there are still many challenges, converting green product production is considered an inevitable trend for plastic businesses, especially when the Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR) policy which bans and restricts the production and consumption of single-use plastic products comes into practice. 

“Green production will be an inevitable trend for plastic businesses”, Mr. Nguyen Le Thang Long – Chairman of Vietnam Eco-friendly Products Manufacture Association (EPMA) said at the International Bioplastic Conference 2023 which was held on September 6 – 7, 2023, in Seoul, Korea. 

The workshop was jointly organized by the City of Seoul and the Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy with the participation of more than 500 experts, including experts from the United States, European Union (EU), Japan, Thailand, and Vietnam. The workshop focused on discussing issues related to bioplastics policies and markets around the world, environmental problems caused by plastics, and the prospects of biodegradable plastics to help reduce plastic pollution, and achieve the goal of building a green, sustainable economy. 

Mr. Nguyen Le Thang Long, representing Vietnamese businesses, presented at the International Bioplastics Conference 2023

Presenting at the conference with the topic “Vietnam’s bioplastic market”, Mr. Long updated the latest policies related to the roadmap to limit the production and import of single-use plastic products and packagingnon-biodegradable plastics; and products and goods containing microplastics. Among them, the most prominent is the new regulations of the Law on Environmental Protection – Decree 08/2022/ND-CP. Accordingly, from January 1, 2026, Vietnam will not produce and import non-biodegradable plastic bags with dimensions less than 50 cm x 50 cm and a film thickness of less than 50 μm, except in cases where production for export or production and import to package products and goods for sale to the market. Organizations and individuals that produce and import single-use plastic products and non-biodegradable plastic packaging will have to take responsibility for recycling and handling according to regulations. The establishment of the National EPR Council in 2023 is one of the strategic actions from the Government to enhance manufacturers’ recycling responsibility to reduce plastic pollution and support this law into practice. 

Mr. Nguyen Le Thang Long (3rd from right) with the President of the National Bioplastics Association at the International Bioplastics Conference 2023

Also according to this decree, after December 31, 2030, businesses are required to stop producing and importing single-use plastic products (except products with Vietnam eco-label certification), and non-biodegradable plastic packaging (including plastic bags that are difficult to biodegrade, foam plastic boxes for packaging and storing food) and products and goods containing microplastics, except in cases of production for export and cases of production and imports non-biodegradable plastic to package products and goods for sale to the market. 

With the above regulations, according to Mr. Long, manufacturing enterprises need to develop a roadmap to convert to green product production or have a plan to prepare for recycling costs according to the law. One of the potential solutions for single-use product manufacturers mentioned by Mr. Long is to shift their structure to produce biodegradable plastic products. This is an environmentally friendly product line, capable of decomposing into water, CO2, and humus in just 6 – 12 months. In Vietnam, one of the leading manufacturers producing this product line is An Phat Holdings Group. This product line has helped An Phat Holdings achieve many successes such as reaching the top of the best sellers on Amazon USA with revenue and products sold in 2023 growing 27 times compared to 2022. Besides, environmentally friendly products of An Phat Holdings have also successfully conquered many demanding markets such as England, Japan, Korea, the United States, and Canada… 

Biodegradable plastic products are the solution to reduce plastic pollution

Although switching to producing environmentally friendly products is considered an inevitable trend, businesses are still facing many challenges such as lack of capital and technology. Furthermore, due to the lack of specific criteria for green products, many products are cheap and not environmentally friendly but are still labeled green and compete directly with truly environmentally friendly products, which are inherently environmentally friendly with 1.5 – 2 higher prices. 

“It is predicted that by 2030, the market demand for bioplastic products in Vietnam will be about 80,000 tons. Therefore, this is a very potential market for Vietnamese businesses to exploit. However, to be able to produce quality products that meet global standards, Vietnamese businesses need to carefully prepare capital and technology to be able to convert to producing new product lines which are environmentally friendly, and high technology content,” Mr. Long shared. 

As Chairman of EPMA, Mr. Long said that EPMA will promote connections with more manufacturers to develop new product lines, promote domestic green consumption trends, and contribute to reducing plastic pollution in Vietnam.  

Single-use plastics to be banned at Han River parks

Plastic cups and containers will be banned from parks along the Han River in 2025, in an effort by Seoul City to reduce single-use plastics.

The Seoul Metropolitan Government announced on Thursday comprehensive countermeasures against the surge of single-use plastic containers, sparked by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Through the measures, the city aims to curb plastic waste by 10 percent and increase the recycling rate by 10 percent. The current recycling rate stands at 69 percent, and the city aims to elevate it to 79 percent by 2026.

Disposable plastic cups are stacked in a franchise coffee shop in Seoul, Thursday. Yonhap


“Growing environmental pollution is a massive problem that is directly connected to the survival of the city and people. So we can’t delay responding to it,” Lee In-keun, the head of the city government’s Climate and Environment Headquarters, said during a press conference.

One of the measures is designating the various Han River parks as plastic-free zones by 2025. With that aim, food trucks at Banpo Hangang Park have changed disposable containers to multi-use ones, according to the city government.

The initiative will be expanded to Ttukseom Hangang Park by 2024 before eventually including all parks along the river by 2025.

Stores in those parks will be exempt from the regulation, but delivery services, used frequently by visitors to the parks, will be subject to it.

To this end, the city government plans to send officials to delivery service pick-up zones at the riverside parks to check if the plan is being implemented properly.

“It will be challenging to impose legal penalties on every store or citizen using disposable containers, but it’s guidance that everyone should follow,” Jung Mi-sun, chief of the Resource Recovery Facilities Bureau of Seoul City, said.

A deposit system for disposable cups will also be introduced in 2025. For coffee shop patrons who opt for disposable cups, an additional 300 won (22 cents) will be charged.

Notably, Sejong City and the Jeju Special Self-Governing Province have been testing a deposit system since December 2022, with promising results ― 3.14 million disposable cups were collected after its implementation.

It is estimated that around 630 million single-use plastic cups are used annually in Seoul’s coffee shops. Transitioning to multi-use cups could potentially reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 54 grams per cup, according to the city government.

The city will also encourage the use of multiuse cups at other facilities such as movie theaters and sports arenas, to cut the number of disposable cups being used by 100 million.

To help increase the recycling rate, Seoul is working on recycling waste plastic as raw materials. The city has signed business agreements with oil and chemical engineering companies to produce fuel oil or recycled materials from contaminated or composite waste plastic bags using pyrolysis technology.

Seoul’s comprehensive approach to tackling its plastic pollution mirrors global efforts to address this pressing issue.

Germany, for instance, has made it mandatory to use multi-use containers in restaurants and delivery services since January. The U.N. has committed to establishing an international agreement to regulate plastic pollution by 2025.

“We hope Seoul can become a model city by reducing the use of plastic and recycling waste resources,” Lee said.

Certification Scheme DINplus Home Compostable Carrier Bags

Since July 2023, DIN CERTCO GmbH (Berlin, Germany) offers a new certification scheme according to the new standard EN 17427:2022 “Packaging – Requirements and test scheme for carrier bags suitable for treatment in well-managed home composting installations”.

Based on the French standard, the European standard EN 17427 had been developed at the European level during the past year. The scope of this standard is limited to home compostable carrier bags. In addition to requirements for disintegration and biodegradability, the standard also includes specifications for extensive ecotoxicity tests and clear rules on environmentally hazardous substances and substances of very high concern. The new EU standards also includes guidelines on how well-managed home composting should look like and under which the certified bags then also biodegradable.

With this certification scheme, carrier bags, fruit and vegetable bags, and (organic) waste bags can be labeled with the trusted certification mark “DINplus Home Compostable Carrier Bags.” The modular certification scheme can also be used to certify the corresponding materials and semi-finished items

With this unique certification system according to a European standard, trust is created along the entire value chain of manufacturers, retailers, consumers and regulatory authorities.

Source: Bioplastics magazine, European Bioplastics