Earth Day turns 50 and companies show off their greenness

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Earth Day turns 50 and companies show off their greenness

Companies rolled out environmental campaigns in time for Earth Day today.

Some are offering promotional items while others are giving donations to environmental foundations.

Earth Day was inspired by a massive oil spill in California in 1969. This year marks its 50th anniversary.

CJ ENM’s home shopping unit CJ O Shopping on Tuesday announced it launched a campaign with Touch4good, which designs upcycled products. Together, they sell koala-shaped blankets of microfiber fabric made from recycled plastic.

Priced at 25,000 won ($22), the entire selling price will be donated to help parts of Australia ravaged by bushfires late last year. The fires were estimated to have killed around 10,000 koalas.

The money will be donated to the Korea Federation for Environmental Movements, which will give it to the Australian government to be used to help the affected areas in New South Wales.

An eco-friendly bag made from used parachutes is another CJ offering. Parachutes are usually thrown away after being used around 300 times. The eco-friendly bag is meant to prevent the disposal of parachutes and the environmental damage they cause.

Proceeds from the sales of the parachute eco bag will not be donated anywhere.

Both are sold on CJ O Shopping’s online store Funshop.

Health food store Orga Whole Foods, a Pulmuone affiliate, will open an eco-friendly store in Bangi-dong in southern Seoul, with the Ministry of Environment next month.

The store is intended to be an experiment in encouraging people to generate less waste, according to Pulmuone.

Fruits and vegetables will be displayed in bulk instead of in packaging; shopping bags will be rented and returnable; and packaging will be made of reusable materials.

The store was supposed to open yesterday, but that has been postponed to next month due to the coronavirus outbreak.

Online store operators BGF Retail and Market Kurly are encouraging consumers to spend in an eco-friendly way.

BGF Retail’s online food shop HelloNature is giving away eco-friendly bags and packaging to select customers.

It also is promoting environmentally-friendly food, like apples that were produced with minimal greenhouse gas emissions and eggs from free-range chickens.

Market Kurly rolled out similar measures earlier this month.

It offers a separate category of eco-friendly food, like good agricultural practices, or GAP, tomatoes and shrimp certified by the Marine Stewardship Council, an international nonprofit organization.

“They are generally more expensive than non-certified food, but consumers these days value sustainable offerings,” said Kim Soo-jin, a spokesperson for Market Kurly.

Sales of the certified products rose 15 percent from April 2 through April 20, compared to three weeks before that period.

“These days, it has become natural for firms to encourage eco-friendly spending, even if that means losing the chance to promote the company title,” said Lim Do-hyun, a spokesperson for the 7-Eleven convenience store chain. “Due to the popularity of reducing waste, companies have to show that we also care about the environment.”

In 2018, 7-Eleven removed the company logo from its disposable cups of ice for drinks like iced coffee to make recycling easier. On Tuesday, it announced a donation of 89 million won to an environmental foundation for air purifiers to be installed in school buses.

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

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