The government established a law to restrict people to use disposable cups in café to prevent environmental pollution. However, this regulation keeps causing conflicts between the clerks and customers. According to the the Ministry of Environment, they are aiming to decrease the number of disposable cup from 6.1 billion (2015) to 4 billion. Besides this regulation, the government suggested to simplify the wrapping paper, ban from using plastic bag, make a guideline for transporting bag and change the plastic bottle to colorless bottle. Prohibiting to use disposable cup is helpful and convenient method to decrease use of disposable products and reduce waste. In the sense of the owner of café, I think the regulation is such a tricky and inconvenient change.
Then, what happened after it is applied to café? First, some posters informing the regulation by the ministry was posted on coffee shops. I saw a clerk explaining the customers about the usuage of mug cup in one franchise café. Nevertheless, many consumers demanded plastic cups since they will go out after a few minutes. In the rush time such as after lunch or dinner, the clerks had to offer the plastic cups since the mug cups were insufficient. Not only some people use plastic straw even when using mug cup, which is out of a purpose for reducing the use of “plastic” but also some uncleaned mug cups were offered. People sensitive to hygiene doubted whether the cups were sterilized well or not.
If a café offers disposable cups, it will be fined for 50 thousand won to 2 million won depending on the area of café and the number of violation. However, I wonder whether the rule can be conformed well unless the café cooperates with the government. This is because even though recyclable cups such as glass or mug can contribute to reducing the use of disposable product, the regulation is not stable to accommodate all interests of the consumers and café owners.
Some famous franchise café may conform the regulation, but I am not sure whether other small coffee shop or self-employed will follow the rule. Of course the rule will be efficient in the long term, but does the rule consider the discomfort of the small shops. It is pity to face such situation, since it has been implemented due to lack of citizen’s awareness to dispose their own trash. Even though the rule is compulsory to change the awareness sharply, it is appropriate to comply with the regulation if this attitude can make ordered society.
Koh Seo-young firstname.lastname@example.org
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