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Corporations fight plastic waste

But they each take a different path to meeting the challenge
June 12,2019
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Lotte Chilsung Beverage CEO Lee Young-gu, center, and employees take part in the Plastic Free Challenge, along with other companies. [LOTTE CHILSUNG BEVERAGE]
Korean companies in many sectors are taking on the Plastic Free Challenge as they work to reduce waste.

Lotte Chilsung Beverage, Samyang Packaging and LS-Nikko Copper are among the participants.

The campaign is cohosted by World Wildlife Fund (WWF) and Jejupass, which operates a rental car price comparison business. The campaign kicked off in November and ended in January after 20 million won ($16,930) was accumulated. But people have been continuing the campaign.

To take part, a campaign participant writes a hashtag with a photo of themselves doing something environmentally friendly. They then designate the next person to follow.

“I decided to take part in the campaign with employees with the belief that our small effort to reduce disposable plastics will result in making a healthier earth,” said Lotte Chilsung Beverage CEO Lee Young-gu in a statement on Tuesday. The company will reduce the weight of polyethylene terephthalate (PET) bottles and use eco-friendly labels for its drinks. PET bottle manufacturer Samyang Packaging also joined the movement.

“Eighty percent of PET used for beverage packaging is recycled,” said company CEO Lee Gyeong-seop. “I decided to join the campaign to help create a recyclable ecosystem where used PET bottles can be recycled to protect the environment and raise convenience.”

LS-Nikko Copper CEO Doh Suk-goo on Tuesday wrote on social media that the company “hopes to offer a clean environment and nature to younger people through small yet continuous effort.”

Doh explained the company reduced monthly use of paper by 70 percent, and that paper cups aren’t used at the office.

Prudential Life Insurance Korea CEO Kurtis Jang on Monday joined the campaign. Jang vowed to get rid of disposable items and encourage the use of personal cups or tumblers at the office to follow the trend of reducing the use of disposable items, according to Prudential Life Insurance Korea. “We’ll start a company campaign instead of making it just a one-time thing,” the company said.

Other participants from finance included IBK Insurance and Hi Asset Management.

The Plastic Free Challenge ended in January with 20,000 hashtags. For each hashtag, Jejupass donated 1,000 won, which it later used to make and sell tumblers. Jejupass will raise up to 20 million won from selling tumblers and donate the funds.

Although encouraging people to go green is part of the campaign goal, hashtags posted after the campaign do not result in donations.

BY JIN MIN-JI [jin.minji@joongang.co.kr]