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Used coffee grounds turned into furniture; local government recycling ice packs
Updated: 2022-05-08 10:01:50 KST
The pandemic has led to a huge rise in demand for delivery and takeout food the past couple of years.
This has caused an increase in the amount of trash people throw away, but it's also raised awareness of the need to recycle.
Lee Eun-jin has this report.
Like most coffee shops, this cafe in Seoul's Seongdong-Gu District produces piles of waste coffee grounds.
Just at this coffee shop, we're looking at around 200 kilograms per month.
It gets collected for recycling.
Some 2-thousand kilograms of coffee grounds from 25 cafes are collected and taken to this recycling factory, where it is transformed into a completely new product.

The coffee waste makes up 20 percent of this plastic synthetic resin mixture.
The plastic is used to make furniture, which helps lower carbon dioxide emissions.

"Currently, only used coffee bean waste is being collected, but we are looking to expand so that other disposable waste like cups and straws can be collected together."

Here in Gangdong-gu District in front of a local community center, there is a place for ice packs.
The used ice packs are collected and disinfected, then made like new and distributed to stores.

Only gel-type ice packs that are made with microplastics are reused.
Just last year, some 72-thousand ice packs were recycled cutting carbon emissions by 25 tons.

"We are reusing ice packs, and we're also running other environmental campaigns, including turning the ice packs into air fresheners."

For stores that have been using more ice packs due to the rise in demand for deliveries and take out food, this system of reusing ice packs has also been of great financial help.

"Each of these ice packs costs 16 to 24 U.S. cents. Say we use over 100 a day, that really adds up for us."

Individual efforts to protect the environment are growing, but even more awareness and action needs to be taken toward recycling.
Such small actions can lead to a bigger change in the future.
Lee Eunjin, Arirang News.
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