Why it matters: The Happy Habit Project, supported by SK Telecom (NYSE: SKM), has potentially eliminated the use of more than 10 million disposable cups, equivalent to a reduction of 293 tons of CO2 emissions.
This initiative marks a significant step in the national effort to limit plastic waste and carbon emissions.
The Key Points:
- The Happy Habit Project, launched in 2021 by the Ha:bit Eco Alliance, promotes reusable cups in a cycle of use, collection, and reuse. The alliance, which consists of 90 members from various sectors, aims to reduce excessive plastic consumption.
- The system requires customers to pay a deposit of KRW 1,000 at participating coffee shops for drinks served in a reusable "Habit Cup."
- These cups are returned via smart kiosks for daily collection, sanitization, and redistribution to coffee shops, facilitated by SK Telecom's Vision AI technology.
- Several major companies and local governments have participated in this project, including Starbucks, LG Display, Daishin Securities, Paris Baguette, Il Mazzio, Pascucci, Incheon City Hall, and the Seoul Metropolitan Government.
- The Ministry of Environment and the Ministry of the Interior and Safety announced plans to implement a reusable cup recycling system in all 13 government complexes across Korea by 2027.
The Big Picture: The initiative is part of a broader eco-conscious movement, with Jeju Island, where the project originated, seeing the most significant reduction in disposable cup use, with 6.48 million cups saved.
Other areas, such as Seoul, Sejong, Gyeonggi, and Gangwon provinces, are increasingly adopting reusable cups.
SK Telecom plans to expand the collaboration to more institutions, including coffee shops in company buildings, university campuses, sports stadiums, and theaters.
The concerted efforts of the government and various companies signify the rapid establishment of a reusable cup circulation ecosystem.