Gyeonggi Province to reduce annual vinyl waste from eco-friendly school meal distribution by 30 tonnes

Createdd 2021-09-03 Hit 177

Contents

○ Initiative to reduce 51 tons of waste vinyl generated annually by eco-friendly school meals
– From single-use plastic bag elimination to multi-purpose packaging material utilization and recycling expansion
– Reduce CO₂ by 30 tons per year and improve distribution center working environments

Gyeonggi Province is working to reduce CO₂ emissions by 30 tonnes a year by drastically reducing the waste vinyl generated by the eco-friendly school meal distribution process.

The Gyeonggi Province Eco-Friendly School Meal Support Center announced on September 3 that it recently conferred with the Ministry of Environment, the Gyeonggi agroFood Institute, producer groups and distribution companies to examine the current status of waste vinyl generation and devise collaborative means for its reduction.

The amount of waste vinyl generated by the distribution process for eco-friendly school meals in the province amounts to approximately 51 tonnes annually. This is primarily because single-use plastic bags are widely used when packaging agricultural products and wrapping boxes at production sites for eco-friendly agricultural products and distribution centers; 35 tons of waste vinyl are generated when using inner vinyl to package agricultural products and another 16 tons when wrapping products for delivery.

Regarding the 16 tonnes of vinyl used for wrapping, Gyeonggi Province will replace disposable vinyl with mesh-type packaging materials made from recyclable materials. Mesh-type packaging materials do necessitate initial outlays but, compared to vinyl wrap, do not require laborers to continuously engage in wrapping; this is expected to help offset labor intensity while maintaining the freshness of agricultural products.

Regarding the 35 tonnes of inner vinyl used for packaging, Gyeonggi Province will continue discussions to explore alternative methods, such as replacing or recycling biodegradable vinyl or optimizing usage by subdividing sizes. Also, the province has agreed to consult with the Ministry of Environment on means for disposing of biodegradable vinyl and the circular use of recycled vinyl products in eco-friendly school meals.

Gyeonggi Province expects such measures will serve as an opportunity to advance the province’s eco-friendly school meals, for which the production and distribution processes are all eco-friendly, as 30 tonnes of CO₂ emissions are reduced per year while working environments are enhanced.

Ahn Dong-kwang, Director-General of Gyeonggi Province’s Agricultural & Maritime Administration Bureau, said, “Everyone must strive to achieve school meals that are beneficial not only for humans but also for nature. We will expand institutional and financial support to prevent environmental pollution and minimize carbon emissions.”

Gyeonggi Province has been promoting the Eco-friendly Agricultural and Livestock School Meal Supply Project since 2009 for 1.5 million students at 2,400 elementary, middle and high schools in the province. This year alone, the province, together with cities and counties, plans to allocate a budget of KRW 75 billion to compensate for cost differentials with superior eco-friendly agricultural products.