Ministry of Environment (ME), Korea Climate & Environment Network (KCEN), and Korea Environmental Industry & Technology Institute (KEITI) started campaigning on the reduction of paper receipts in the country from Sept. 24 to 28.
According to the National IT Industry Promotion Agency’s 2014 statistics on paper receipt usage, 14.6 billion paper receipts are issued in a year in Korea and 60 percent of it are discarded. Paper receipts are unrecyclable. It causes severe greenhouse gas emission resulting from the minerals in thermal paper being non-biodegradable. If people begin to stop using paper receipts, 26,000 ton of greenhouse gas emission can be reduced which is equal to planting 400 thousand trees.
To induce action, Ministry of Environment, KCEN and Climate Change Center (CCC) ran a campaign to promote electronic receipts, also known as e-receipts, to replace the paper ones near universities. The campaign took off at Sungshin Women’s University on Sept. 24 and ended at Ewha on Sept. 28.
“We targeted people in their 20s and 30s because they know how to use smartphones and other finance applications related to e-receipts,” said Lee Seung-min, a researcher at CCC. “We hope to raise awareness on the problems caused by paper receipts such as greenhouse gas emission and resource wastes. We would also like to share easy ways people could deal with climate change in their everyday lives.”
CCC is the nation’s first NGO dedicated to climate change reception since 2008. They joined to take action to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and promote environmentalism in the country.
“This campaign was planned as part of our Climatus College project which is a project focusing on working with millennials and generation Z to share climate change issues and act towards environmental sensitivities,” Lee added. “We got our university volunteers, U-savers, to lead the booths for four days.”
Starting at Sungshin Women’s University, the campaign was brought to Chung-Ang University, Korea University, University of Seoul, Ewha Womans University, and Daehyun Cultural Park. The campaign at Ewha was held around ECC and Student Union Building.
As part of the campaign, booths were opened at designated places with numerous activities planned. Activities led by the volunteers included signing an oath to not use paper receipts, an O/X quiz, and an online event. Those who participated were given souvenirs such as stainless straws and stickers.
“I think spreading awareness on climate change and pollution from paper receipts in university areas is a great idea,” said Han Yu-ri, a sophomore at Hanyang University who participated in the campaign at Daehyun Cultural Park. “Climate change is not just an environmental issue but more of a social issue that needs more attention. Like how this campaign targeted youths, I believe university students like myself can be the first to take action on making a cleaner and healthier environment.”
As a user of e-receipts, Han also added that the e-receipt method should also be encouraged and shared with businesses. Since only certain services like Starbucks are using such method, she hopes that everybody will join to spread this campaign.
“Other than using e-receipts, more environmentally friendly actions should be practiced among youths and promoted by the country to stop climate change,” Han concluded.