Consumption of disposable cups in cafes and fast food chains exceeds 1 billion in 2021

This file image shows take-out plastic cups. (Yonhap)

SEOUL, Sep 13 (Korea Bizwire)The number of disposable cups consumed in major coffee and fast-food chains topped one billion last year amid the COVID-19 pandemic, according to a report on Tuesday.

According to the Ministry of Environment report submitted to Representative Lee Joo-hwan of the ruling party, the number of disposable plastic and paper cups consumed in the stores of 14 major coffee chains and four fast food brands between 2017 and 2021, including Starbucks and McDonald’s, reached over 4.34 billion.

The average annual consumption of disposable cups at these outlets was 784.8 million between 2017 and 2019 before the pandemic pushed that number up to 995.5 million during 2020-2021.

Annual consumption in 2021, in particular, stood at 1.02 billion, with the corresponding number for the first half of this year standing at 534.9 million, according to the report.

Of the disposable cups consumed in the past five years, only 27.5%, or about 1.2 billion, were returned to stores for recycling, according to the report.

In a bid to dramatically increase the recycling rate of disposable cups, the government had planned to implement a mandatory deposit system on June 10, imposing a surcharge of 300 won (22 US cents) per drink a consumer purchases. at a take-out restaurant. cup, refundable when the package is returned for recycling.

In a reversal just three weeks before the program was implemented, however, the environment ministry postponed the implementation until December at the behest of the ruling People’s Power Party and cafe operators.

The program was to come into effect on December 2.


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