South Korea South Korea launches a new mark for hard-to-recycle composite packaging materials from 2022

Amendment of the Guidelines on Separate Discharge Mark

On July 9, 2021, the Ministry of the Environment (MOE) of South Korea promulgated a notice amending the Guidelines on Separate Discharge Mark (MOE Notification No. 2021-140) to revise the marking requirements for hard-to-recycle packaging materials, such as composite packaging materials, from January 1 of 2022. Currently, such materials are disposed of as residual matters. According to MOE, the new marking requirements will apply to products and packaging materials covered by the Separate Discharge Mark System in a phased manner, as follows.

  • Newly manufactured products and packaging materials: from January 1, 2022
  • Existing products and packaging materials: from January 1, 2024

The MOE added that the new marking requirements would be imposed on imported products, whether newly manufactured or existing, based on the date of manufacture.


The target materials of the revised marking requirements are paper packs, polystyrene paper (PSP), PET bottles, and other synthetic resin containers/trays:

  • in which the base material and different materials (e.g., metals) are mixed or combined in a method such as application (coating) or bonding (lamination); or
  • of which materials cannot be separated by consumers without some tools.


Under the amended Guidelines, the regulated packaging materials must bear an Application/Bonding Mark, as shown the left figure below. Products and packaging materials with the Application/Bonding Mark must be discharged in the volume-based bags, rather than discharged separately. If some part of a packaging material, not the entire body of the material, falls under the scope of the Application/Bonding Mark, the Guidelines allow to mark the major part of the packaging material as such, together with the existing separate discharge mark (see the right figure below).


Application/Bonding Mark

In the case where the mark is to be displayed together with an existing separate discharge mark
(Example: Colorless PET bottles)

(The phrase “volume-based discharge” shall be displayed under the existing mark.


Under the amended Guidelines, a separate discharge mark for colorless PET bottles has been newly stipulated. In South Korea, colored and colorless PET bottles have been collected separately from December 2020.


The revised Guidelines for Separate Discharge Mark (MOE Notification No. 2021-140) can be viewed at:

The press release of the MOE can be viewed at:;jsessionid=cfbfjm3a4vX8o-VGW1osFiIO.mehome1?pagerOffset=40&maxPageItems=10&maxIndexPages=10&searchKey=&searchValue=&menuId=286&orgCd=&boardId=1465410&boardMasterId=1&boardCategoryId=&decorator=