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Disposable cup consumption at cafe and fast food chains tops 1 bln in 2021

All News 09:48 September 13, 2022

SEOUL, Sept. 13 (Yonhap) -- The number of disposable cups consumed at major cafe and fast food chains topped 1 billion last year amid the COVID-19 pandemic, a report showed Tuesday.

According to the environment ministry report submitted to Rep. Lee Joo-hwan of the ruling People Power Party, the number of disposable plastic and paper cups consumed at stores of 14 major cafe chains and four fast food brands between 2017 and 2021, including Starbucks and McDonald's, reached more than 4.34 billion.

The average yearly consumption of disposable cups at such outlets stood at 784.8 million between 2017 and 2019 before the pandemic drove up the number to 995.5 million during the 2020-21 period.

The annual consumption in 2021, in particular, amounted to 1.02 billion, with the corresponding number for the first half of this year coming in at 534.9 million, the report showed.

Of the disposable cups consumed during the past five years, only 27.5 percent, or about 1.2 billion, were returned to the stores for recycling, the report showed.

In a bid to dramatically raise the recycling rate of disposable cups, the government had planned to bring into force a compulsory deposit-refund scheme on June 10, mandating a surcharge of 300 won (22 US cents) per drink a consumer buys in a takeaway cup, refundable upon the return of the package for recycling.

In a reversal only three weeks ahead of the scheme's implementation, however, the environment ministry postponed the implementation until December at the request of the ruling People Power Party and cafe operators. The scheme was scheduled to go into force on Dec. 2.

This file image shows plastic takeaway cups. (Yonhap)

This file image shows plastic takeaway cups. (Yonhap)


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