Some local governments, including Seoul, are introducing pilot projects that use multi-use containers for food delivery. It allows consumers to choose a multi-use container from a delivery app if they wish, and the Ministry of Environment is also going to support it by amending the law to limit the free supply of disposable products. The restaurant industry agrees with the direction of reducing single-use items, but points out that social consensus on the use of multi-use containers is necessary first.
According to the food service industry on the 14th, the Seoul Metropolitan Government and the Ministry of Environment signed a ‘business agreement to promote the use of multi-use delivery containers’ on the 9th with the Ministry of Environment, Great Sangsang (operating the delivery app Yogiyo), It Green, a multi-use container cleaning company, and the Korea Franchise Industry Association. Coupang Eats is also considering the use of multi-use containers. With this agreement, Shi and Yogiyo decided to further expand the multi-use container pilot project implemented at a restaurant in Gangnam-gu last month.
Consumers order food in a multi-use container at about 60 restaurants in Gangnam-gu through Yogiyo, scan the QR code on the multi-use bag and apply for collection. Shiwa Yogiyo will present a gift certificate of 5,000 won to customers who order multi-use containers by the 7th of next month, and also provide free service. The Ministry of Environment will submit to the National Assembly an amendment to the ‘Resource Saving and Recycling Promotion Act’ by the end of this year to limit the free provision of disposable items (spooners, forks, etc.)
The response from restaurants and consumers participating in the pilot project is positive. Person A, who runs a chain restaurant such as Korean food, said, “There is no difference in cost because the cost of purchasing disposable items and the cost of renting a multi-use container are comparable. There are a lot of positive reviews,” he said.
He said, “Unlike disposable items, multi-use containers do not have a variety of sizes and shapes,” he said. Consumer B said, “It was convenient and less guilty as if I had used a recycling service as a separate collection service.
The restaurant industry, which is watching the pilot project, orders that guidelines for the multi-use container system are needed, such as who will share the cost in the future and how many times the container will be recycled. After the ceremony of poetry and yogi-yo, consumers who choose the multi-use container pay a service fee of 1,000 won. The usage fee is used for container recovery, cleaning, and disposal of leftovers.
Mr. C, who runs a Korean restaurant, said, “There is not much consumer participation, so the marketability is unclear, and it seems necessary to discuss how to share the cost. “There are many business owners who are concerned about the possibility that it will lead to a cost increase,” he said.
It was also pointed out that government-level financial support should be supported. Gyeonggi Province also introduced a multi-use container service, but the specifics are different, such as using a public delivery app rather than a private one. An official from the Korea Franchise Industry Association said, “Each local government provides different services depending on the financial situation, which may cause confusion for consumers. We need support such as tax benefits that can be done,” he said. It is explained that there is a limit to only the goodwill of consumers and the voluntary participation of small business owners.