The use of plastic bags in convenience stores will be banned from November 24, two years after they were removed from hypermarkets as part of eco-friendly efforts.
As in large supermarkets, customers will have the option of buying standard trash bags or paper bags at convenience stores to carry what they have purchased.
If a store is found to have used ordinary plastic bags, it will face fines of up to 3 million won ($2,086).
Convenience chains such as GS25 and CU have already stopped placing orders for plastic bags, while 7-Eleven and E-mart 24 plan to do so later this month.
The new measure is expected to go a long way in reducing plastic waste, as GS25 alone uses some 20 million disposable plastic bags on average every month.
Some convenience store owners have complained on online self-employed communities that most customers would find it inconvenient to bring their own grocery bags for small purchases at convenience stores, and pay 100 or 200 won for plastic bags. paper might even deter people from buying things there.
Convenience store businesses said they would inform store owners about the environmental reasons behind the move.
Under the new ordinances which come into effect on November 24, the use of other disposable items in restaurants, cafes and bars such as disposable cups, plates, wooden toothpicks, chopsticks and plastic straws plastic will also be prohibited.
The use of plastic bags to put wet umbrellas will also be prohibited.
Plastic straws will however be allowed for take-out drinks.
Only eco-friendly rice, paper or bamboo straws will be allowed inside restaurants and cafes.
The Department of the Environment had previously planned to ban wet tissues, another plastic fiber disposable item, also from next year, but it is now considering wet tissue makers’ request to postpone for three years.
Plastic balls used for cheering in baseball or soccer stadiums will also be banned.
Until now, only the free distribution of these balloons was prohibited, but from November 24, the use of any plastic object for the purpose of encouragement will be prohibited.