Basic Info

Please review before submit

Nominee Information

Institutional Information

Member State Republic of Korea
Institution Name Korea Environment Corporation(K-eco)
Institution Type Public Agency
Administrative Level National
Name of initiative Citizen Participation Ice Pack Reuse Campaign for Eco-Friendly Conversion (revision)
Projects Operational Years 2
Website of Institution

Question 1: About the Initiative

Is this a public sector initiative? Yes

Question 2: Categories

Is the initiative relevant to one of the UNPSA categories? Category 2: Enhancing the effectiveness of public institutions to reach the SDGs

Question 3: Sustainable Development Goals

Is the initiative relevant to any of the 17 SDG(s)? Yes
If you answered yes above, please specify which SDG is the most relevant to the initiative. (hold Ctrl to select multiple)
Goal 3: Good Health
Goal 6: Clean Water and Sanitation
Goal 12: Responsible Consumption and Production
Goal 13: Climate Action
Goal 14: Life Below Water
Goal 15: Life on Land
Goal 17: Partnerships for the goals
Which target(s) within the SDGs specified above is the initiative relevant to? (hold Ctrl to select multiple)
3.4 By 2030, reduce by one third premature mortality from non-communicable diseases through prevention and treatment and promote mental health and well-being
3.9 By 2030, substantially reduce the number of deaths and illnesses from hazardous chemicals and air, water and soil pollution and contamination
6.3 By 2030, improve water quality by reducing pollution, eliminating dumping and minimizing release of hazardous chemicals and materials, halving the proportion of untreated wastewater and substantially increasing recycling and safe reuse globally
6.b Support and strengthen the participation of local communities in improving water and sanitation management
12.4 By 2020, achieve the environmentally sound management of chemicals and all wastes throughout their life cycle, in accordance with agreed international frameworks, and significantly reduce their release to air, water and soil in order to minimize their adverse impacts on human health and the environment
12.5 By 2030, substantially reduce waste generation through prevention, reduction, recycling and reuse
12.8 By 2030, ensure that people everywhere have the relevant information and awareness for sustainable development and lifestyles in harmony with nature
14.1 By 2025, prevent and significantly reduce marine pollution of all kinds, in particular from land-based activities, including marine debris and nutrient pollution
17.17 Encourage and promote effective public, publicprivate and civil society partnerships, building on the experience and resourcing strategies of partnerships

Question 4: Implementation Date

Has the initiative been implemented for two or more years Yes
Please provide date of implemenation (dd/MM/yyyy) 01 Jul 2019

Question 5: Partners

Has the United Nations or any UN agencies been involved in this initiative? No
Which UN agency was involved? (hold Ctrl to select multiple)
Please provide details

Question 6: Previous Participation

1. Has the initiative submitted an application for consideration in the past 3 years (2017-2019)? Yes
If Yes, enter year 16-Nov-2020

Question 7: UNPSA Awards

Has the initiative already won a UNPS Award? No

Question 8: Other Awards

Has the initiative won other Public Service Awards? Yes
If yes, please specify name, organisation and year. 2020 Government Innovation Best Practice Grand Prize(Presidential Award)

Question 9: How did you learn about UNPSA?

How did you learn about UNPSA? GOVERNMENT

Question 10: Validation Consent

I give consent to contact relevant persons and entities to inquire about the initiative for validation purpose. Yes

Nomination form


Question 1

Please briefly describe the initiative, what issue or challenge it aims to address and specify its objectives (300 words maximum)
Social distancing caused by COVID-19 has led to a surge in delivery of fresh foods (50% increase compared to Jan. 2020) and that means a leap in the use of ice packs. Most of the ice packs used are discarded in standard plastic garbage bags, acting as a cause of microplastics and environmental pollution. ‘About 80% of ice packs whose filler is super absorbent polymer are disposed in standard plastic garbage bags and then incinerated and landfilled and about 15% of them are discharged into sewers. These are causing the primary pollution by microplastics and the secondary pollution when they are eaten by animals or absorbed by plants. As a leading organization for establishing the sustainable society of resources recycling, we, Korea Environment Corporation, have accordingly contemplated how to promote reuse of ice packs with civic groups (local governments) and to realize social values through harmonious coexistence. Also, as more citizens have started to wonder “How can I dispose of ice packs?” And small business owners require more ice packs due to increased delivery, we found out that we need the methods for harmonious coexistence. So, by promoting a campaign for continuous diffusion, starting with Jangjeon 1-dong, Geumjeong-gu, Busan (2020. 02), we developed a gradual diffusion and customized model to neighboring local governments, and expanded to the whole of Busan(2020) and the whole country(2021) in response to the growing demand from citizen.

Question 2

Please explain how the initiative is linked to the selected category (100 words maximum)
The application field of this initiative is (effectiveness of public institutions to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)) /Asia Pacific. The reason for this decision is that this project is an eco-friendly ice pack in order to reduce the primary pollution that affects people from air or water due to the generation of microplastics in the institutional blind spot, and the secondary pollution caused by ingestion of animals and plants from the contaminated ocean, air, and soil. This is because it is a citizen-participatory public good task to promote the transition to eco-friendly ice pack.

Question 3

a. Please specify which SDGs and target(s) the initiative supports and describe concretely how the initiative has contributed to their implementation (200 words maximum)
This initiative supports SDGs 3, 6, 12, 14 and 15 out of the 17 goals. The problem of the increase in microplastics due to the use of ice packs is closely related to climate change as the demand for ice packs due to global warming is proportional to the increase. In particular, the primary pollution of the marine ecosystem and the ingestion of animals and plants from microplastics lead to secondary pollution, which can seriously adversely affect the health of all age groups, so citizens are wondering how to deal with it. Citizen participation can promote the transition to eco-friendly ice packs by promoting correct disposal practices and improving environmental sensitivity.
b. Please describe what makes the initiative sustainable in social, economic and environmental terms (100 words maximum)
With citizen participation, we designed a low-cost model and continue to push forward. As a result of the nationwide spread in 2021, 970,000 ice packs were reused to reduce the generation of 22,000 tons of microplastics. NGOs are expanding their scope to social and economic activities. Citizens and their children are checking the process of converting harmful products into eco-friendly products.

Question 4

a. Please explain how the initiative has addressed a significant shortfall in governance, public administration or public service within the context of a given country or region. (200 words maximum)
In August 2019, the government improved the system to include ice packs in the recycling target from 2023, but the use of ice packs surged due to the outbreak of the 2020 corona pandemic, so we could not wait for the system to be improved. Citizens wondered how to deal with the ice packs that were accumulating right away, and they regretted throwing away the intact ice packs. In addition, voices calling for a quick transition to eco-friendly ice packs have also increased. As a result, we increased the conversion rate of eco-friendly ice packs by 25% through a citizen participation campaign before the implementation of the system, and it is expected that large corporations such as Coupang will actively participate in the eco-friendly conversion according to the citizens' request, allowing 90% conversion before the implementation of the system.
b. Please describe how your initiative addresses gender inequality in the country context. (100 words maximum)
Due to the nature of the civic groups, women participate more frequently, such as women's associations, and the contents of the work consist of cleaning and organizing the collected ice packs, which does not require much gender distinction. In addition, the Oullim Village Community has developed environmental education programs such as recycling ice packs to start a women's business, and is growing into a social company by steadily strengthening its capabilities.
c. Please describe who the target group(s) were, and explain how the initiative improved outcomes for these target groups. (200 words maximum)
Local governments support and monitor collection, civic groups select, wash, dry, sort, and pack, and small business owners (traditional markets) are consumers. In particular, small business owners, who are the main customers of this project, reused 970,000 pieces over two years, saving $1.2 million from purchasing ice packs alone. In addition, as a result of carrying out for one year in Jangjeon 1-dong, Busan-si, which has a population of about 17,000, it can be seen that an average of 1 kg of ice pack per person was reused by reusing about 17 tons. It is used as a basis.

Question 5

a. Please describe how the initiative was implemented including key developments and steps, monitoring and evaluation activities, and the chronology. (300 words)
In the beginning, it started with the signing of an MOU between three parties, including Jangjeon 1-dong (local government) in Busan, Oullim Village Community, and Industrial Complex, and the customers were traditional markets and livestock markets. Local governments promoted the campaign to residents and provided a place to monitor, store, and work on ice packs collected after installing a collection box. The Corporation was in charge of omni-directional support such as periodic work, storage status, product support, problem solving, consulting, and public relations, and performed roles such as performance management,development of customers, and support for campaign expansion. After the campaign lasted about 5 months, it gradually spread to neighboring areas and improved it into a customized model to suit the circumstances of each region. As the number of participating civic groups increased with the expansion of local governments, they spread by word of mouth. We set the goal for the first year to spread throughout Busan and searched for demand for large-scale complexes such as the Seafood Complex. At the end of the year, we were able to finally lead the expansion of Busan throughout the country and prepare a bridgehead for nationwide expansion. In 2021, we have developed large-scale customers by implementing nationwide expansion using the national organization of the industrial complex, establishing 17 bases in a wide area, and forming a huge network of 71 local governments and civic groups. The Corporation aggregated the implementation results on a monthly basis and promoted them to the media and broadcasting, analyzed social and environmental benefits, and managed satisfaction with stakeholder surveys. We also promoted the transition to eco-friendly products through meetings with ice pack manufacturers.
b. Please clearly explain the obstacles encountered and how they were overcome. (100 words)
The biggest problem was getting citizens to cooperate in the Corona pandemic situation. Because we had to strictly follow the government's Corona quarantine guidelines, we couldn't proceed with the work if the situation was even a little more serious. We have ensured precautionary measures are taken to avoid problems by educating Corona work guidelines and establishing appropriate workplace structures and procedures. And, for the nationwide spread, we persuaded large companies such as Coupang to use reusable ice packs, encouraged manufacturers to accelerate the transition to eco-friendly ice packs, and set a grace period for the implementation of the related system.

Question 6

a. Please explain in what ways the initiative is innovative in the context of your country or region. (100 words maximum)
Today, we live in a capitalized society and mechanized civilization, and we are trying to solve all environmental problems with the power of capital and technology. However, if you approach the environmental pollution problem that is widely used and thrown away freely because it is cheap like ice packs with capital and technology, you will miss the right timing. This is also the reason why the ice pack reuse campaign that Gangdong-gu, Seoul and Hyundai Home Shopping spent $507 thousand for 3 months in 2019 did not last. Citizen participation awakens civic awareness and spreads word-of-mouth, making it a fun volunteer activity and education for children. And it can bring innovation in other fields like education as well. It will be an important opportunity for citizens and children to cultivate both an environmental mind and an innovative mind.
b. Please describe, if relevant, how the initiative drew inspiration from successful initiatives in other regions, countries and localities. (100 words maximum)
Cases like this one are increasing in our daily life. We put old clothes in the old clothes bin, and someone mend them or launder them and sell them to people who want them or give them away for free. There are also companies that collect food that is nearing its expiration date, repackage it, and sell it at a discounted price in a timely manner. However, there was no similar case for ice packs. Anyone didn't know what material was used in it and what would happen if it threw away. I didn't even know who to give it to. We are showing that we can solve environmental problems just by telling us why we do it and connecting the dots.
c. If emerging and frontier technologies were used, please state how those were integrated into the initiative and/or how the initiative embraced digital government. (100 words maximum)
This project did not use advanced technology. Due to the low price characteristics of ice packs, capital investment was suppressed as much as possible.

Question 7

a. Has the initiative been transferred and/or adapted to other contexts (e.g. other cities, countries or regions) to your organization’s knowledge? If yes, please explain where and how. (200 words maximum)
In Korea, there was a company-led case in Gangdong-gu, Seoul in 2019, but the citizen-led ice pack reuse campaign was first implemented by the Corporation in February 2020, and in 2021, most local government units across the country are participating. This is because citizens from other regions are also suggesting the introduction of an ice pack reuse campaign in the region through the experience of citizen participation through word of mouth. Gangdong-gu, Seoul, signed a business agreement with Hyundai Home Shopping for three months from September to December 2019 and promoted an ice pack reuse campaign, but it could not be continued because of excessive costs. Because products that are harmful to the environment and human body such as ice packs are cheap, if the reuse process takes a lot of money, the reuse campaign for eco-friendly conversion cannot be continued due to lack of economic feasibility.
b. If not yet transferred/adapted to other contexts, please describe the potential for transferability. (200 words maximum)
The ice pack reuse campaign started in the smallest area and spread across the country. Reuse of ice packs can be carried out by using facilities, but it is effective to do it manually in consideration of the economic feasibility for continuous diffusion. Citizen participation is rewarding, environmental awareness is improved, and educational effectiveness is doubled by participating with children. Since this method is possible even in developing and underdeveloped countries, there is no problem in global spread. However, in the current Corona pandemic situation, it is difficult to work together, but in this project, we educated the Corona work manual and organized and supported public volunteer activities in the case of Corona spread.

Question 8

a. What specific resources (i.e. financial, human or others) were used to implement the initiative? (100 words maximum)
In 2020, a total of $7.6 thousand was provided to four local governments to promote, store, wash, and transport goods as a single base. This means that it was able to spread over a period of 3 times longer at 1/80 of the cost of the company-led case, which cost $507 thousand for 3 months. 281 people including volunteers were mobilized, 31 new jobs were created and 1 social company was created. In 2021, a total of 3,337 employments were created by operating 17 bases for nationwide expansion.
b. Please explain what makes the initiative sustainable over time, in financial and institutional terms. (100 words maximum)
In August 2019, the government included ice packs as a recycling target in the 「Resource Saving and Recycling Promotion Act」. When the system is implemented, an environmental charge will be added to ice packs using microplastics, which will increase the price of the ice packs. Therefore, even if the price of eco-friendly ice packs is slightly higher, the price gap can be narrowed and a quick conversion can occur. In addition, if the campaign to reuse ice packs continues, a faster transition to eco-friendly ice packs will occur. In the case of citizen-led campaigns, local governments do not need to set up a large separate budget, so continuous diffusion is easy.

Question 9

a. Was the initiative formally evaluated either internally or externally?
b. Please describe how it was evaluated and by whom? (100 words maximum)
In the internal survey, a total of 65 people including civic groups and small business owners, which are key elements of this project, were targeted, and a surprising 99% satisfaction was confirmed. Externally, this project passed the government innovation task expert screening and was selected for the grand prize(Presidential Award) through a public vote. It was also selected as an excellent case of social economy by the Ministry of Environment. In 2021, the transition to eco-friendly ice packs and the participation of large companies are even more meaningful.
c. Please describe the indicators and tools used (100 words maximum)
In the evaluation of social benefits, referring to the Ministry of Environment's research service report (2014. 02, p.47) on the recycling method of disposable diapers that use the same material as ice packs, $4.6 thousand for incineration and landfill transportation per 6,000 ice packs based on weight. This required was derived and applied. In this case, items such as incineration and landfill facilities and operating costs that may be controversial were excluded.
d. What were the main findings of the evaluation (e.g. adequacy of resources mobilized for the initiative, quality of implementation and challenges faced, main outcomes, sustainability of the initiative, impacts) and how this information is being used to inform the initiative’s implementation. (200 words maximum)
Through this project, we were able to develop a citizen participation model to spread the ice pack reuse campaign nationwide at low cost. This is a devised method that can be applied to the situation of various local governments, and allows various methods to be used when spreading nationwide. In terms of social and economic benefits, 970,000 ice packs were reused for one year of spreading nationwide, reducing the generation of 22,000 tons of microplastics, and social benefits of $1.2 million were achieved. Qualitatively, citizens' environmental awareness was raised, and the effect of environmental awareness education for the next generation was remarkable.

Question 10

Please describe how the initiative is inscribed in the relevant institutional landscape (for example, how it was situated with respect to relevant government agencies, and how the institutional relationships with those have been operating). (200 words maximum)
The Ministry of Environment improved the system in 2019 to convert to eco-friendly ice packs by imposing a levy on ice packs containing hazardous substances from 2023. However, since companies tend to follow economic profits before the environment or health, the actions of consumers, citizens, are necessary for the transition to eco-friendly products. Citizen action for the environment has been found to play a powerful role in putting pressure on businesses and enhancing environmental sensibility for future generations.

Question 11

The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development puts emphasis on collaboration, engagement, partnerships, and inclusion. Please describe which stakeholders were engaged in designing, implementing and evaluating the initiative and how this engagement took place. (200 words maximum)
First, The Ministry of Environment improved the system in 2019 to convert to eco-friendly ice packs by imposing a levy on ice packs containing hazardous substances from 2023. In 2020, we started an ice pack reuse campaign with citizens by improving failure cases in collaboration with local governments, civic groups, and traditional markets. Small achievements were widely advertised, starting with where they could participate, and quickly expanded into neighboring areas. As participation increased and supply expanded, large-scale demand sources were also developed. When the meeting was difficult due to the corona pandemic, we continued our continuous activities for the spread of the service by volunteering from the employees of the Corporation. At the end of the year, when a great achievement recognized by the whole nation was achieved, company-wide support for nationwide expansion began. In 2021, the national organization of the industrial complex was launched, and local governments and civic groups from all regions participated, and even large corporations participated, resulting in exceeding the target. In addition, ice pack makers are developing more eco-friendly ice packs, creating a situation where the government, along with the people and businesses, can switch to eco-friendly ice packs sooner than when the system is being improved.

Question 12

Please describe the key lessons learned, and how your organization plans to improve the initiative. (200 words maximum)
Microplastics are very harmful to the environment and human body. But if consumers don't reject it, businesses will continue to make it. You cannot prevent this by imposing taxes with laws and institutions. Businesses just have to factor in taxes in their prices. If the consumer buys. But we have seen that citizen intervention can make a difference. Citizens, consumers, are demanding and willing to buy from harmful products to green ones. It's very active and rewarding. Ice packs are just a small part of many products. Various environmental campaigns are taking place, such as a campaign for self bowl delivery, a campaign to collect disposable cups, and a campaign to recycle electronic products at junkyards. The ice pack reuse campaign never ends. Only the product is different. Already, civil society does not hesitate to participate in the eco-friendly transition. Civic engagement environmental campaigns must spread and continue. It plays the same role in life as monitoring water quality and monitoring fine dust. This is possible in any country and may include social and economic activities if necessary.

Return to list

Please wait...