Tuesday 27 September 2022

South Korea to lessen coffee shops’ burden on food waste disposal

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SEJONG, South Korea – The Ministry of Environment of South Korea (ME, Minister Han Wha-jin) announced that a partial amendment to the Enforcement Decree of the Waste Contol Act was approved at a Cabinet meeting on June 7 and will be effective from June 14. In the revision, cafe owners and ice cream shop owners will be excluded from ‘a person discharging food wastes’ under article 15, paragraph 2.

The revision excludes food service businesses with relatively less food waste, including coffee shops and ice cream shops, from obligations of filing plans for food waste reduction and disposal, thus alleviating their business regulations.

The substance of the revision is as follows. First, the food service businesses that sell teas and ice creams are excluded from “a person discharging food wastes” under article 15, paragraph 2.

Thus far, food service businesses with an area of at least 200 ㎡ have been categorized as “a person discharging food wastes,” regardless of the amount of food waste generated. Even if a food service business generates a small amount of food waste, once the business is categorized as “a person discharging food wastes” under Article 15-2 of the Act, it has to file for a food waste reduction and disposal plan or entrust the relevant work to a waste management company.

With this revision, all small and medium-sized coffee and ice cream shop owners will be included in the food waste volume-based system administered by the competent local government, significantly reducing the burden of searching for and hiring a waste management company on their own. Furthermore, ordinances of each si, gun, and gu excluded not only coffee shops but also some general restaurant businesses from “persons discharging food wastes” in the same article of the Act.

The amended version enabled waste management company owners who are imposed with a fine in place of a suspension or other administrative sanctions to pay the amount in installments.

It applies to poor economic conditions: the penalty can be paid in installments for reasons such as suffering noticeable losses due to a disaster or the business undergoing a crisis from changes in the business environment. In such a case, the business owner must apply installment payment to the concerned authority (Regional Environment Office or a local government) and s that prove the need for installment payment at least ten days before the deadline.

Hong Dong-gon, Director-General of Resources Circulation Bureau, said, “If a certain waste regulation is considered unnecessary, the Ministry of Environment will justify the regulation by examining its need and the anticipated effect.”

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