Seoul City to build first upcycling centre

Seoul City to build first upcycling centre

The country's first-ever upcycling centre will be opened in Seoul in 2017 in an aim to boost green industries, officials said Thursday.

Seoul Metropolitan Government broke ground for the Seoul Upcycling Plaza (tentative name) in Janganpyeong, eastern Seoul, as part of the project to stimulate the culture of reusing, recycling and upcycling.

In contrast to reusing and recycling, upcycling uses waste materials to convert them into new products. It has been a rising global trend, especially in the European fashion market. In Korea, only about 30 upcycling companies exist as of this year, the city said.

Spread over 16,500 square meters, the five-story building will consist of workspaces for upcycling-focused social start-ups and artists, and a large market for upcycling products, processed waste materials and secondhand items, the city said.

Once the facility is opened, the Janganpyeong area will transform into an environment-friendly town with the existing Jungnang water treatment facility, used car market and water sewage museum, the city said.

This is part of the city government's long-term environment project aimed at using the waste as a source for the green industry.

Along with the nation's largest upcycling centre, Seoul City vowed to make efforts to expand the number of upcycling companies to 1,000 and create about 20,000 fresh work opportunities with new jobs such as upcycling material planner and eco-designer, the city officials said.

It will also raise the recycling rate from the current 64 per cent to 75 per cent by 2017, which will be the highest in the world. The city will also improve the food garbage-turned-biogas rate to 100 per cent. The current rate is around 30 per cent, they added.

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