Post-COVID-19 Plastic Management and Stakeholder Satisfaction in South Korea

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    Serena Caucci

    COVID-19 has affected social and economic systems, and the awareness and knowledge about the virus has been increasing around the world since the outbreak of the pandemic. Due to hygiene measures and regulations stemming from the COVID-19 outbreak, the use of plastics by the public and the medical community is rapidly increasing, which points out the need for a plan for waste management after the pandemic. 

    Before the pandemic, various efforts have been made to reduce plastic production and pollution and to increase recycling rates, but more initiatives are needed to manage the growing amount of plastic waste. Korea has been one of the countries that managed plastic waste well before COVID-19, and it is known that recycling accounts for a large percentage of waste management. However, due to COVID-19, waste cannot be recycled, and Korea is facing a challenge due to the rapid increase in the amount of waste. Therefore, there is a growing need to prepare for post-COVID-19 by analysing the situation before and after COVID-19 for plastic waste management in Korea. 

    The objective of this project is to increase understanding on and develop strategies for sustainable plastic waste management in Korea by analysing the satisfaction of stakeholders related to plastic waste impacts caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. Conducted in cooperation with the Korea Environment Corporation (K-eco), the project studies the satisfaction of stakeholders with respect to plastic management in Korea and changes in related technology and laws through surveys and interviews. The research aims to explain the development of plastic waste management in Korea since the pandemic and seeks to identify strategies and guidelines for its effective management post-COVID-19. 

    This project is funded by the Korea Environment Corporation (K-eco) through the Plastic Pollution and Nexus Governance Solutions for Regulating the Use of Plastic project.