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Suggestions for newly elected president of South Korea
Zero Waste Policy Suggestions(0).pdf

for newly elected president of South Korea

: How can we build a
sustainable Zero Waste Society



May 30, 2017

Korea Zero
Waste Movement Network


1. Achieving zero discards to the landfill or incineration
by 2022

(1) New Deal for Zero
Waste green jobs: More than 30 local governments in the U.S. announced plans
for 100% diversion by 2020. About 100,000 jobs are expected to be created
through implementation of the Zero Waste goals.

(2) Maximize reuse and
recycling: Recycling is critical for countries with scant natural resources
like Korea. While many developed countries approach resource management in the
perspective of resource security, Korea still lacks awareness-building efforts
and infrastructures. Policies focused on resources security should be developed
to ensure high quality recycling and promote resource circulation.

(3) Readjust
landfill/incineration tax and reduce waiver on hazardous substances

2. Building Zero Waste Network Upcycling Korea

(1) Establish a database
of local Zero Waste practices

  • Precise
    statistics on waste including local level should be prioritized. Currently
    local governments manually process data on household waste after receiving them
    from contracted waste management companies to report to the central government.

  • Proper
    statistical system, especially at the local level, should be put in place in
    order to provide adequate information to the public.

(2) Improve collection
and transportation system

  • Automated
    transfer stations are not being properly managed because they are not
    classified as waste management facilities. Transfer stations should be
    incorporated in the current waste management system by amending relevant

  • Korea
    should create an enabling environment to encourage waste management companies
    equipped with high technology and expertise to expand their practices
    nationwide while ensuring that there are more than 5 companies in each local
    autonomous entity to strengthen the competitiveness.

(3) Build an
infrastructure for effective recycling

  • The
    government should stabilize the price of recycling materials to prevent
    resources from ending up either in landfill or incinerator depending on the
    unstable market price.

  • Extended
    Producer Responsibility(EPR) must be strengthened because current waste levy
    system and voluntary agreement system can be misused to avoid recycling cost.
    Packaging industry should start manufacture with recyclable materials instead
    of plastic. 

  • Efficient
    management of organic waste can be achieved by raising awareness on composting
    and strengthening the role of local governments in treating food waste
    effluent. Especially, solidifying sewage sludge for landfill should not be
    understood as recycling.

  • The
    government should develop technologies and induce investment to improve the
    quality of recycling materials with less logistical cost.

(4) Promote culture of sharing in towns and

  • More
    reuse markets and sharing markets should be placed in the city to promote the
    culture of sharing. Also supporting reform centers and social enterprises could
    contribute to boosting the culture of upcycling.

3. Vitalizing voluntary civic participation  

(1) Establish a
public-private governance for greater public support on Zero Waste policies

  • Gaining
    support from the public as well as building institutional and physical
    infrastructures is crucial for achieving a circular economy.

  • The
    government should operate education programs to offer citizens opportunities to
    learn about reducing, reusing, recycling in their daily life.

  • In
    order to reduce the amount of waste generated at the local, collaboration with
    environmental organizations must be institutionalized through participatory

(2) Support development of
voluntary resource management models at the local level

  • A
    more autonomous model of waste management should be developed at the local
    level as waste resources can add value to connecting environment and social
    welfare. Financially supporting a social enterprise that works to assist
    low-income senior citizens to collect and sort out waste resources can be an

  • Despite
    the fact that as high as 80% of all collected materials for recycling comes
    from junk shops, there have been legal restrictions on junk shops which label
    them as illegal. Korea should protect low-cost and high efficiency practices of
    junk shops by amending the National Land Use Law.