Korea enacts “excessive packaging” law

Korea recently enacted its "excessive packaging" law, complete with empty packaging restrictions, and "reduction" ratio requirements for a wide range of packaging.

The empty space ratio remains as it was in the proposal — for example, processed foods 15%; beverages 10%; cosmetics: 10%; OTC drugs: 20%. In addition, the limitations on the number of layers of packaging for certain consumer goods remains – it is two layers for most goods; one for shirts and underwear.

The “reduction” ratios are complex, as they are based on a formula. Companies must ensure that a certain percentage of their plastic packaging is being recycled at 50%. There is a reduction ratio for all of the products covered by the empty space ratio if they use plastic packaging. The ratios were reduced from the original proposal.

The final law also requires reduction plans to be submitted by electronics manufacturers for their packaging, if their product is smaller than 30,000cm3. The companies must show how they plan to reduce their use of plastic packaging.

The new law also bans use of PVC shrink wraps and laminated PVC for packaging, as of January 2001.

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