Rules & Laws: Coffee Shops & To Go Cups

Have you been to a coffee shop lately and been told you can’t stay in the coffee shop with your to-go cup? Feeling angry because it all seems so foolish that you can’t just sit in the coffee shop with your paper or plastic cup? Well, if it makes you feel any better, they aren’t singling you out or trying to be jerks. It’s the law in Korea. 

Like many of the worlds leading countries, Korea is taking a look at what it can do to reduce waste. One of their most recent rulings is to create laws addressing to-go cups and plastic bags. Read more about this CLICK HERE.

The to-go cup ban has directly affected all of our local coffee shops as they scramble to avoid fines of nearly 2 mil won (2,000 USD) for having excessive to-go cup waste. They have all had to buy real mugs for their shop and adjust their systems to accommodate. Officials are even doing random checks on shops across the country to make sure they are complying. 

Since the coffee shops are already very stressed by this new law, don’t give them too much extra stress about it. They didn’t choose this for themselves but they have to enforce it to avoid fines. Here is how we, as customers, can all pitch in to make it easier on our favorite shops:

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  • Bring your own mug or thermos for take-out orders. This is the absolute best option and often gets you a small discount.
  • Carefully consider if you are dining in or taking out and if you plan to sit with your friends for a while, error on the side of dining in and get your drink in a mug. If you still have coffee when you are ready to leave, as for a to-go cup then.
  • Let your friends know about this law so they don’t feel uncomfortable when they visit their local coffee shop. It’s a confusing new situation to get used to, and knowing before you go will help things be more comfortable. 

It’s never fun for businesses when new laws like this come into play, and it’s even more stressful when there is a language barrier. Hopefully, this information will help clarify what’s happening so your next coffee stop is as relaxing as you dreamed it would be.