Convenience store chain CU operator to release mini-bags made by upcycling discarded banners

By Kim Joo-heon Posted : January 24, 2023, 16:55 Updated : January 24, 2023, 16:55

[Courtesy of BGF Retail]

SEOUL -- Using an eco-friendly polyester fiber produced by an upcycling company, BGF Retail, the operator of South Korea's top convenience store chain CU, will recreate discarded banners into everyday items such as bags. Currently, most banners used for special events such as the Luna New Year and Valentine's Day are being discarded.
The eco-friendly polyester fiber called "regen" is normally made from recycled polyethylene terephthalate (PET) bottles to manufacture clothes, bags, shoes, and other products. BGF Retail expects upcycling about 1,000 PET bottles can reduce carbon dioxide emissions by 35,400 grams (78 pounds). Upcycling is the process of transforming by-products, waste materials, or useless products into new materials or products perceived to be of greater quality. Unlike recycling, which only focuses on collecting discarded materials and turning them into new product materials, upcycling is the process of reusing old materials by transforming them into new products more valuable or of a higher quality, such as artistic or environmental value. 
BGF Retail said in a statement that the company has partnered with Cueclyp, a domestic upcycling company that has produced wallets and bags using waste materials. Starting on January 27, consumers can purchase Cueclyp's mini bags made by using regen-based banners provided by BGF Retail. The upcycled bags will be sold through live commerce, a home shopping-like online service that uses mobile shopping platforms or social media for live streaming. Proceeds from the sales of the products will be used for BGF Retail's campaign to create forests in urban areas.
"We will continue to try hard to become a leading ESG (environmental, social and corporate governance) company through sustainable green management by utilizing the largest retail network in South Korea," BGF Retail's management planning team head Han Yoon-beom was quoted as saying. 
Upcycling has gained momentum among many domestic companies. In January 2022, South Korea's major online apparel retail giant Musinsa teamed up with Hyosung TNC, a textile company that produces regen, to release T-shirts using recycled fabrics. BTS, a world-renowned K-pop boy band, has gained worldwide attention at the 76th United Nations General Assembly for wearing "RE;CODE," a suit made of recycled fabric produced by the fashion wing of South Korea's fabric maker Kolon Group. 
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