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KWMN and Waste-Zero Movement

We, KWMN, have been working on waste-zero movement to reduce the use of plastic bags since 1998. As one of our activities, we first promote housewives to carry their own baskets and durable bags in the market and shopping centers. Furthermore, we proposed to the Korean government that every store should charge customers for plastic bags to discourage their use and take it mandatory to give deposit refunds to customers who return their plastic bags. Then, the Ministry of Environment accepted it so as to reduce drastically total volume of wastes from households. Moreover, we made efforts to displace synthetic resin containers and disposable items made by polystyrene foam, and promote the use of environmentally friendly items at service areas in the high way as well as 26 department stores nationwide. In particular, we took an action for "bring my own cup" movement at public buildings as the very first step of the movement in 2000. Recently, this activity influenced on public officers who switched from disposable cups to durable cups in vending machines.

Fast-food Franchisee Without Disposables Opens in Seoul!

Korea Waste Movement Network (KWMN) leading waste-zero movement opened the first fast-food chain not using disposable items in Seoul on April 27th, 2001. This is the first successful case of cooperation with Lotteria Company, one of the biggest fast-food franchises in Asia.

Fast-food Chains and 'No Disposables' Movement
It has been about 4 years since a 'reduce the use of disposable goods' campaign started. The reason why we have focused on "non-disposable goods" movement is that wastes from the fast food chains are 30% of total volume of wastes from urban wastes. The campaign started from large fast food franchisers such as Burger King, KFC, McDonald's, Pop'eyes, Hardee's and Lotteria through dozens of meeting, conference, survey, and monitoring. Due to our efforts with government, those big chains are comfortably watching the rush to conform to the campaign. In the process of the campaign, Korean government stated in Feb. 1999 that every fast-food store has responsible for recycling or returning 90% of disposable items if it wants to use disposable items. Due to this regulation, the large chains mentioned above have instigated a recycling system during the process of legislation. The burger joints have already reduced the amount of paper cups, napkins and other disposables and are the recycling disposable materials used.

However, the goal of 90% of recycling of disposable items has not been obtained due to their lack of awareness and efforts. Moreover, smaller fast-food chains were afraid of participating in this movement because they were expected to incur great costs in their rush to conform to the new environmental law. In this situation, we monitored bigger fast food chains first and accused the stores of having neglected their duty. During the period of settling down, we suggested to the fast food chains that you make a model, which do not need to use any disposable items. As a result, "Lotteria", the largest fast food franchise in Korea, accepted the idea of non-disposable items and now runs a model store at Jongro, downtown in Seoul.

What we urge to do against fast-food chains with
disposable items are as:

  • use non-disposable cups
  • allocate top, straws, napkin, and towel for their needs
  • do not use plastic and coated paper items
  • do not use paper on trays
  • replace non-disposable spoon and fork
  • fit mustard and ketchup sauce container so as to take it as much as customers' want
  • free-provide soda to customers with their own mug

Expansion of Zero-Waste Management at Fast-food Franchises and Its Plans
The fast food without disposable waste launched on April 27th has carried out "do not use disposable items" movement. As customers noticed the fact this store do not use disposable items and now it is smoothly sailing. We are now in anticipation of expanding this movement toward other stores. For this movement making vigorous, KWMN is continuously working on survey research, monitoring on the customers of this store whether the service better or not. At the end of this year, we are going to utilize the data on the reduction ratio of waste generation, and benefit-cost analysis due to the use of non-disposable items. Moreover, we are going to use these results in our movement in the future.

KWMN will ultimately work on improving institutions to increase the chains without disposable items throughout the whole countries. A new institution that we are preparing for will ban the use of disposable goods at all. In order to do that, we are planning to hold a forum with not only government officials but also the fast-food franchises, especially, multinational corporations. As a matter of fact, multinational firms run most of fast food franchises. Therefore, the cooperation with other civic or environmental groups throughout the world will necessarily be a key effort to obtain the goal of waste-zero movement.

Last but not least, we, KWMN, believe as follows. The purport of waste-zero movement starting from the fast- food chains is very straightforward to teenagers who are the biggest customer group in the fast food chains, and we will take over the next society in educational aspects such as leading eco-friendly life style and reducing natural resources. For the purpose of expanding and improving the movement, KWMN will spur us to do in cooperation with you all.

What is Korea Waste Movement Network?
Korea Waste Movement Network was created to solve the social problems on wastes. KWMN are core group for networking various kinds of NGO groups against waste problems. For the zero-waste society, KWMN are raising public awareness, researching alternatives, livening up public activities, setting up recycling system, and influencing public policy on waste management.

Today, about 270 member clubs including women, consumers, civic, and environmental groups are participated in this network. In 2001, this network consists of several committees such as committee for wrapping wastes, for incineration/landfill, for food wastes, for toxic wastes, and for policy counseling.

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