Bringing Reform to Korea's Environmental Management Philosophy
Bringing Reform to Korea's Environmental Management Philosophy
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  • 승인 2006.09.01 12:01
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Environment / ENVICO Environmental protection and recycling enforcement are key roles for ENVICO An organization reshuffle is under way at ENVICO (Korea Environment & Resources Corporation, www.envico. or.kr) following the inauguration of its new president, Ko Jae-young. Established with the mission of promoting and facilitating the reutilization of recyclable wastes, the Corporation carries out activities to reduce the amount of waste generated and to encourage efficient recycling, thereby contributing to construction of a sustainable recycling management system. After assuming office, Ko said in a recent interview with The Korea IT Times: "I focus my attention on which role ENVICO should fulfill as an institution," adding that a key point is how to activate its current organization, since ENVICO changed to its current name two years ago. Accordingly, Ko noted that he is scheduled to complete the organizational reshuffle by the end of September and additional human power reinforcement would follow. Vital position in recycling business When ENVICO itself was established in 1980, the range of its affairs was to take charge of collection and proper disposal of waste plastics and empty pesticide bottles generating from farming processes. Ko explained that the Ministry of Environment has introduced the "Extended Producer Responsibility system" as of 2000 under voluntary basis, adding that with this as an impetus, producers began to pay attention to how much they recycled goods and ENVICO took charge of confirmation, guidance and as inspection affairs. In particular, through a spontaneous agreement, manufacturers and/or importers of consumer products came to take responsibility for recycling of some products they dealt with and this became obligatory in 2003. In conjunction with this, ENVICO took over supervision of recycling by almost all production companies including those producing TVs, washing machines, fluorescent lamps, electric home appliances and plastic products, according to Ko. The president said that ENVICO is broadening the corporation's range of monitoring, not only designating scrapped material, but also now including construction industry's general waste and hospitals' infectious waste material. He went on to explain: "We don't just supervise such companies, but also do facility installation, supervision, diagnosis, and analysis." ENVICO plans to forge the exclusive responsibility institution for waste material handling facilities from Jan. 1, 2007, according to the president. Adjusting to EU requirements for environmentallyfriendly system Recycling of generated scrapped material is important, but when initially designing a product, it is desirable to make recycling easy from the start, Ko emphasized. In the European Union (EU), terminologies such as LOHAS (Lifestyles of Health and Sustainability), WEEE (Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment), and REACH (Registration, Evaluation and Authorizations of Chemicals) are popular these days. Ko said that from the start of their manufacturing, companies intercept harmful chemicals these days, adding that companies making electric/electronics products are doing likewise. Not only the Ministry of Environment, but also ENVICO, is monitoring these trends overseas as guiding principles of design, the president explained. Since especially in the case of chemical environmental pollution materials it is difficult to recover the original state after they are discharged into the ambient environment and thereby mixed with air or in the water, Ko stressed the importance of intercepting them by conducting production, distribution, consumption, and disposal of products under the concept of a closed circuit system. As part of ENVICO's organization reshuffle, the Corporation is setting up an Environment Health Policy Division right now and it is reported that the Division will concentrate on managing chemical substances, taking charge of appropriate custody as well as proper disposal. Ko further pointed out that control of chemical substances is vitally important, explaining that around 30,000 types of substances are registered as chemical substances in Korea today. Furthermore, the president said that appropriate disposal of chemical substances which used to be utilized as raw materials in factories, laboratories or hospitals are still the Achilles heel of the manufacturing industry in Korea. Considerable expertise in recycling With regard to ENVICO's know-how in connection with recycling, the president disclosed that the Corporation is carrying out environmental control education for other developing countries, especially Southeast Asian countries, since it is equipped with expertise developed over the past 27 years since its establishment. Ko added that ENVICO carries this out in collaboration with the Korea International Cooperation Agency (KOICA) and plans to raise awareness about environment preservation and reutilization in these developing countries further through this route. He commented that ENVICO is in a favorable position to do this because it has branch offices right now in China and Vietnam, adding that the Corporation is eager to show its advanced environmental control infrastructure, introduce corporations, and introduce Korea's various environment-related systems in developing countries like Vietnam. From the long-term standpoint as well, such projects are expected to help Korea extend environment managementassociated technology as well as various industries, Ko said. Korea's recycling industry is far superior in comparison with other countries, he explained, referring to the fact that countries that carry out recycling well are actually rare. To promote recycling, we have to follow RoHS, the restriction of the use of certain hazardous substances in electrical and electronic equipment, Ko pointed out, explaining that it is difficult for Korea's electric/electronics products to gain access to European markets if RoHS standards are not met. As EU demands continuous introduction of environmental-friendly systems, Korea needs to follow it, he said, adding that such demands contribute to improving Korea's business circles' competitiveness. The new president has committed himself to allowing ENVICO to play a pivotal role in promoting recycling in Korea and abroad in the years to come.

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