[LETTERS TO THE EDITOR]Cup deposit not workingAccording to the Ministry of Environ-ment, only about 30 percent of disposable cups were returned by customers in the second half of last year. This result shows that the government policy of depositing 50 won per disposable cup is not working well.
The government said it made the policy to reduce waste and thus protect the environment. However, I think, if the government wants to protect the environment, it has to change the policy by increasing the deposit on disposable cups, or by pushing coffee shops to take more responsibility for gathering cups. Also, if the government wants more voluntary participation, advertising how recycling cups helps to protect the environment is needed.
One reason people do not seek refunds for their cups is that there is nothing that people can do with 50 won. For people who buy coffee, which usually costs about 4,000 won, 50 won is nothing. They cannot even buy gum with it. Also, usually people take out coffee to save time, so it is absurd to expect them to go back to the coffee shop again to get back 50 won. In addition, many times people have to stand in a long line to get the money back.
So, if the government really expects people to return their cups, the deposit for disposable cups should be more expensive, for example 500 won. However, the people who are buying and those selling coffee will be against making a much higher deposit.
A better way of solving the problem is to take a more active approach with the current policy. Rewards should be offered to coffee shops that recover a high percentage of cups and a punishment given, such as a fine, for lower recycling. Now government policy only makes the coffee shops’ cashiers collect 50 won deposits and refund them when customers actively return their cups.
by Song Su-min
with the Korea JoongAng Daily
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