Busan to open upcycling center in renewable industry complex by 2024

By Kim Joo-heon Posted : October 21, 2021, 15:08 Updated : January 6, 2023, 01:25

[Gettyimages Bank]

SEOUL -- South Korea's largest upcycling center will be built in the southern port city of Busan through a 4.4 billion won ($3.78 million) project. To maximize synergy effects with nearby resource circulation infrastructure, the upcycling center will be built in a renewable industry complex that houses more than 10 related facilities and companies specializing in waste recycling and resource disposal.

While recycling only focuses on collecting discarded materials and turning them into new product materials to reuse them, upcycling is the act of creating new values using discarded products. For example, polyethylene terephthalate (PET) bottles are upcycled to be made into clothing. In October 2021, South Korea's automaker Hyundai Motor showcased 12 different fashion items including track jackets and sweatshirts through its upcycling fashion project called "Re:Style 2021."

Busan said in a statement on October 21 that the city will invest some 4.4 billion won to build the upcycling center. The center will establish a joint workshop for producing upcycled products with related facilities and companies including a recycling center. The upcycling center with a total area of 1,424 square meters, which is about the size of five tennis courts, will open in October 2024.

"We expect the upcycling center will play a leading role in South Korea's Green New Deal," Busan Mayor Park Hyeong-joon was quoted as saying. The Green New Deal, which will cost 2.6 trillion won ($2.1 billion) by 2022, aims to promote eco-friendly policies in five major areas: buildings, transportation, urban forests, renewable energy and resource circulation.

South Korea has been focusing on upcycling leftover materials in various sectors. When K-pop sensation BTS gave a public speech at the United Nations General Assembly in September 2021, the band garnered global attention for wearing a suit made with recycled fabric produced by Kolon FnC, a fashion and lifestyle wing of South Korea's fabric maker Kolon Group. Seoul-based global apparel brand FILA also announced in September 2021 that eco-friendly shoes made with recycled materials including recycled cork and biodegradable waterproof paper will be released.
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