south korea new packaging guidelines

New Packaging Material Requirements Released by South Korea

In December, 2019, Ministry of Environment (MOE), South Korea had banned PVC materials and colored PET bottles under the  Act on the Promotion of Saving and Recycling of Resources. The act instructed the packaging manufacturers to evaluate the packaging material grade and grade them in four categories – “best to recycle”, “good to recycle”, “normal to recycle” and difficult to recycle”. These grades need to be placed on the products.

Earlier this year, the MOE released the draft Guideline on Recycling Symbols and Standards of Labeling Quality along with the draft of Structure of Packaging Material Grade that were set for consultation by the end of March 16, 2021 where symbols for packaging material grades were proposed. The new proposal includes,

  1. Unable to Recycle

In order to direct the consumers towards proper waste segregation, the MOE introduced symbol for “unable to recycle” when the packaging good cannot be recycled. This shall be applicable in case where the “difficult to recycle” packaging material is mixed with other materials or the packaging  material is coated or laminated with other material.

  • Revised Symbol for Recycling

The text on the symbol for recycling has been revised to reflect the packaging type and material used. For example, in case of the example below, ‘can’ and  ‘iron’ are used to reflect the  packaging type Can and material as iron.

  • Exemptions for “Difficult to Recycle”

In cases where colored or complex packaging material are used to protect the efficacy of products, an exemption is introduced from labeling “difficult to recycle” on such products provided the company sets up a recycling  plan for such material.              


Draft of Guideline on Recycling Symbols and Standards of Labeling Quality

Draft of Structure of Packaging Material

South Korea Releases New Packaging Requirements

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