Seoul vows to reduce delivery waste

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Seoul vows to reduce delivery waste

The Seoul Metropolitan Government vowed Monday to cooperate with several dawn-delivery companies to reduce waste and make their packaging eco-friendly.

A dawn-delivery system allows consumers who place online orders before midnight to have their items, such as groceries, arrive at their front door early the next morning.

The government said in a press release Monday that it recently reached out to dawn-delivery companies for environmental cooperation as many people have been shopping online due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Six companies agreed to the initiative, and Seoul plans to sign a deal with them today to specifically work on eco-friendly packaging and “spread a culture” within the delivery industry that encourages environmentally friendly business models, the office said in the release.

The six companies are SSG.com, Oasis, JeongYookGak, GS Retail, Hello Nature and Hyundai Department Store.

Seoul said in the press release that it expects the deals to lead to a reduction of nearly 1.44 million Styrofoam boxes and 6.24 million gel ice packs annually, and also other plastic materials that go into packaging ordered items. The government office noted that Seoul will also support research for reducing waste.

Under the deal, Seoul specifically hopes to swap the Sytrofoam boxes with paper boxes, and gel freezer packs - which are normally filled with a type of superabsorbent polymers - with dry ice or frozen ice packs. Vinyl buffer materials - which are used to keep the items in place - and vinyl tape will be replaced by paper or other biodegradable materials.

The Seoul government said it would try to convince the six companies to follow these guidelines and encourage them to set up some sort of monitoring system to keep close tabs on packaging procedures.

Kim Yoon-soo, head of the Seoul Metropolitan Government’s resources recycling division, said the city hopes all companies join the movement to use eco-friendly packaging materials.

“Plastic, which occupies the majority of packaging waste, takes six seconds to produce, five minutes to use and at least 500 years to decompose,” said Kim.

The city “hopes environmentally friendly packaging [procedures] that consider humans and Earth become a must, not an option.”

BY LEE SUNG-EUN [lee.sungeun@joongang.co.kr]

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