South Korea to introduce full inspection of recycled paper imports and plans PET bottle ban

Busan Port South Korea
Busan Port in South Korea

The Ministry of Environment in South Korea has said that it is planning to introduce full inspections of recycled paper imports and potential restrictions on what can be imported.

It has also announced that it intends to work towards a full ban on recycled PET bottle imports by gradually limiting their import.


In a statement, the Ministry of Environment blamed cheap imports of recycled paper grades for making it harder to recycle their own domestic collected paper in Korea itself. Therefore, it intends to make it harder to import paper.

It said that 1.46 million tonnes had been imported by the Korean paper industry in 2019. Along with the import restrictions, the Government is also encouraging the paper industry in South Korea to stop imports.

Ministry of Environment resource circulation policy officer Lee Young-Ki said: “To resolve the excess supply of domestic waste paper, it is necessary for the paper industry voluntarily to stop importing waste papers.”

In order to encourage more recycling of PET bottles in South Korea, the country also plans to implement an eventual ban on the import of these.

Along with measures to stimulate the separate collection of PET bottles in the country, it also intends to gradually reduce the amount that are allowed for import.

Lee Young-Ki added: “We will make efforts to achieve zero imported waste by improving the recycling quality of domestic PET waste bottles.”

It isn’t clear as yet when these policies will be implemented.

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