South Korea bans disposable plastic bags from major supermarkets

South Korea's Ministry of Environment on Monday said that the country is banning single-use plastic bags from major supermarkets in an effort to curb waste and conserve resources.

CNN reported that the ban will go into effect on Tuesday, and will impact 13,000 supermarkets in total. Those shops are already prohibited from giving customers plastic bags for free, but the new policy will bar the stores from providing single-use bags at all, except to hold wet produce.

Stores will be required to offer reusable alternatives such as paper bags.


Supermarkets that violate the ban on plastic bags could face fines of up to 3 million won, or roughly $2,700, CNN reported.

With the move, South Korea joins countries like Australia, France, the Netherlands and several others that have in recent years banned or imposed fees on single-use plastic bags.

In the U.S., numerous organizations have done away with plastic bags or plastic straws in an effort to move toward more environmentally friendly options. Supermarket chain Kroger announced this year it intends to ban the use of plastic bags at its grocery stores by 2025.

The city of Denver said earlier this month it is considering enforcing a ban on products such as plastic bags.