Korean retailers exercise eco-friendliness ahead of Earth Day

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Korean retailers exercise eco-friendliness ahead of Earth Day

Lotte Mart's tomatoes packaged in 100 percent recycled plastic containers [LOTTE MART]

Lotte Mart's tomatoes packaged in 100 percent recycled plastic containers [LOTTE MART]

 
With Earth Day coming up this Saturday, Korean retailers are stepping up their sustainability by incorporating green technology in their packaging and product development.
 
From utilizing recycled plastic containers for fresh foods to introducing eco-friendly packaging, retailers are looking to reduce their environmental impact.
 
Earth Day is a time to recognize the successes of the environmental movement while also promoting the importance of preserving our planet's natural resources.
 
Lotte Mart recently announced its plans to package their tomatoes in 100 percent recycled plastic containers.
 
Lotte Mart currently offers two of its tomato products, Sweetell Tomato and Sweettango Tomato, in containers made of recycled plastic. This makes Lotte Mart the first discount chain store in Korea to introduce such a sustainable packaging for foods.
 
The change was made in response to the fact that tomatoes use the most plastic packaging among the fresh food items sold throughout the year. The company has set its sights on expanding the use of recycled plastic containers to all 22 tomato products by the end of this year.
 
According to Lotte Mart, the recycled plastic containers are manufactured through chemical recycling technology, which uses chemical processes like depolymerization and pyrolysis to break down the polymer form of plastic into raw materials. This method has a significant advantage over mechanical recycling, which involves cutting plastic into flakes. The containers produced by chemical recycling are highly stable and can be recycled again, the discount chain explained.
 
The cost of producing these containers is around 50 percent more expensive due to the need for significant investments in recycling facilities. Despite this, a spokesperson from Lotte Mart has stated that they have decided to invest in this initiative to produce less plastic waste.
 
Shinsegae Department Store's eco-friendly shopping bags and packaging made from recycled materials [SHINSEGAE DEPARTMENT STORE]

Shinsegae Department Store's eco-friendly shopping bags and packaging made from recycled materials [SHINSEGAE DEPARTMENT STORE]

 
Shinsegae Department Store introduced shopping bags and packaging made from recycled paper from April. As part of this initiative, the department store’s headquarters and 13 of its branches collect approximately 6,000 tons of paper and cardboard waste, which are then recycled into shopping bags and packaging.
 
This move is expected to save over 6 million sheets of paper annually, which will help protect 11,000 trees, the department store said.
 
The transformation to the more natural paper shopping bags started at Hyundai Department Store in February 2022. Hyundai Department Store collected approximately 8,700 tons of packaging boxes and paper from its 16 branches, and instead of letting them go to waste, the company made them into shopping bags.
 
Through this initiative, Hyundai Department Store saved approximately 8 million shopping bags annually, which helped protect around 13,200 trees.
 
In a first for the duty-free industry, Shilla Duty Free declared it will reuse the plastic wrap used for logistics packaging of duty-free products. Plastic wrap is commonly used by distribution companies to secure goods loaded onto pallets or cargo transport platforms for domestic and international transport.
 
The company has made the switch from disposable plastic wrap to producing regenerated plastic wrap through a specialized recycling company to reuse them. This approach is expected to reduce its plastic waste by 18.7 tons annually, which is equivalent to reducing carbon emissions by 34.8 tons and planting 2,239 pine trees, according to Shilla Duty Free.
 
Crown Confectionery's special edition C: Corn-Chip package for Earth Day [CROWN CONFECTIONERY]

Crown Confectionery's special edition C: Corn-Chip package for Earth Day [CROWN CONFECTIONERY]

 
Crown Confectionery announced the launch of a special eco-friendly edition of its popular C: Corn-Chip snack on Saturday. This new edition will feature packaging with its ink usage reduced by up to 70 percent.
 
To achieve this eco-friendly design, the packaging will only include the brand name, an "Earth Day" mark, and a barcode on a silver background. The symbolic corn image has been removed, and only three ink colors will be used, instead of the previous seven.
 
This limited edition product will be produced in a batch of 422,000 bags to commemorate the date of Earth Day. Not only will the new packaging reduce the use of chemical ingredients such as ink and organic solvents, but it will also have a carbon reduction effect of 200 kilograms (440 pounds), which is equivalent to the amount absorbed and emitted by 20 mature pine trees in a month, the company explained.
 
Experts say that it is important that companies prioritize eco-friendly practices as they not only contribute to a more sustainable future, but it also gives them a competitive advantage in the marketplace as consumer awareness continues to grow.
 
"The retail industry tends to take a more active role in engaging in eco-friendly activities as it has the most direct contact with consumers," said Seo Yong-gu, a professor of business administration at Sookmyung Women's University. "Even if it comes at a higher cost, many companies are engaging in environmentally conscious businesses to attract customers who tend to show loyalty to companies that adopt social good initiatives.”

BY YOO JI-YOEN, SEO JI-EUN [seo.jieun1@joongang.co.kr]
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