Jump in sales of eco goods linked to bag restrictions

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Jump in sales of eco goods linked to bag restrictions

Restrictions on the offering of plastic bags by large retailers have resulted in an increase in the sale of eco-friendly products, according to Gmarket.

The online shopping mall says that sale of shopping baskets in the first quarter jumped almost threefold compared to the same period a year earlier. Sales of bags made of tarpaulin more than doubled. Tarpaulin is a strong, flexible and water-resistant material that is often used to make picnic mats.

Other environmentally friendly items have also been popular. Sales of cups, including tumblers, were up 29 percent year on year.

The trend follows the government’s move to stop discount marts, department stores and supermarkets larger than 165 square meters (1,776 square feet) in size from offering plastic bags. Starting January, the Ministry of Environment conducted a three-month test in which chosen retailers were prevented from providing plastic bags to customers at checkout.

The goal is to promote recycling and save resources.

From this month, the ministry started imposing fines on retailers violating the regulations.

Emart has also noticed an increase in the sale of environmentally friendly products.

Sales of non-woven fabric bags, which cost 500 won ($0.44) and are available at checkout, were up 4.5 percent in the first quarter on year.

Sales of its plastic garbage bags declined 14 percent from April 1 to April 7.

“Using eco-friendly products like tumblers and shopping bags has become a new trend, so-called eco fashion, and it’s likely for such items to become daily necessities,” said a spokesperson for eBay Korea, which runs Gmarket.

BY JIN MIN-JI [jin.minji@joongang.co.kr]
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