SEOUL, Fewer than two out of 10 cosmetic containers distributed in South Korea are recyclable, an environmental group said Saturday, urging cosmetics companies to raise the recycling rate of their cosmetic packaging.
The group, which calls itself “Cosmetic Attack Citizens Action,” said it examined 6,617 brand-name cosmetic containers, and only 18.7 percent, or 1,238 containers, turned out to be recyclable.
It said 68.5 percent (4,531 containers), mostly made of colored or translucent plastic bottles, were hard to recycle, while recyclability of the remaining 12.8 percent, or 838 containers, could not be known.
About 100 volunteers conducted the research from April 1-16 after collecting more than 8,000 cosmetic containers, all weighing 370 kilograms, from 86 retailers nationwide, it said, adding about 1,400 containers lacking a recognizable brand or manufacturer name were excluded from the study.
The group said easily recyclable products include those made of single plastic material, metallic containers with easy-to-remove lids, and transparent, brown and green glass bottles with easy-to-remove lids.
In contrast, one-body products with inseparable lids of different materials, colored plastic bottles and products made from composite materials are difficult to recycle, it explained.
Indeed, 32.3 percent, or 1,839 containers, were impossible to recycle due to their colored or translucent plastic bottle materials, while 19 percent, or 1,081 containers, did not carry a recycling sign at all, it said.
The group said AmorePacific Corp., the nation’s largest cosmetics company, had the smallest number of recyclable cosmetic containers, at 74, or 9.49 percent. As many as 598 AmorePacific containers, or 76.67 percent, were found to be non-recyclable, it said.
In the case of LG Household & Health Care, the nation’s No. 2 cosmetics maker, 117, or 20.67 percent, of 566 collected containers were deemed recyclable. Innisfree, another popular cosmetics brand, reported a recycling rate of 14.69 percent.
During a news conference held in front of the AmorePacific headquarters in central Seoul, the civic group delivered 780 used cosmetic containers to the company and asked for its greater participation in resources recycling.
AmorePacific officials showed up at the news conference and vowed to make an all-out effort to bring down the ratio of non-recyclable containers to zero, while arguing the company’s non-recyclable ratio is now below 50 percent by government standards.
Source: Yonhap News Agency