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Not the first time: K-pop albums by Seventeen thrown away in bulk in Tokyo

Not the first time: K-pop albums by Seventeen thrown away in bulk in Tokyo
Albums by K-pop group Seventeen were dumped in Shibuya with a sign reading: 'Feel free to take any you want'.
PHOTO: X/mh16304456, X/Seventeen

The streets of Shibuya, Tokyo, were littered with boxes upon boxes of discarded albums by K-pop boy band Seventeen recently.

On April 30, a day after the release of their anthology album 17 Is Right Here, Shibuya News posted a TikTok video wondering: "What kind of situation is this?"

The video shows albums strewn about, opened and with CDs on the floor. People can be seen picking the albums up and putting them into plastic bags.

@shibuyanews 渋谷公園通りseventeenのベストアルバムが大量に捨てられていました!これどういう状況なんでしょうか? #seventeen #세븐틴 #セブンティーン #渋谷 #shibuya ♬ MAESTRO - SEVENTEEN

One X user, who presumably encountered the scene earlier, posted a photo of the cardboard boxes full of albums neatly stacked.

"At Parco in Shibuya, there was a huge pile of Seventeen albums with a sign reading, 'Feel free to take any you want'," they wrote.

Another netizen responded, with a photo of the albums in disarray: "The result of a lot of fishing."

Netizens were dismayed by the waste.

"No wonder the trash is piling up if they have these purchase deals, encouraging fans to buy 13 variants to get benefits," one wrote.

They attached a screengrab showing that each fan could "buy up to 20" albums and would receive special gifts if they bought more than 13 - one version for each of the members of Seventeen.

"Buy 20 albums and get 20 unreleased selfie photocards (one set of 13 versions + random seven out of 13 versions) + 20 photo stickers (one set of 13 versions + random seven out of 13 versions) + one mini pocket file," an example read.

South Korean netizens on anonymous forum Theqoo were also enraged, noting that fans may buy these albums just for the photocards and additional benefits before throwing them away.

"They need to limit how many a person can buy. These sellers need to stop buying in bulk," a netizen wrote. "And it's time to sell just photocards and not whole albums."

Another wrote: "So much trash is accumulated due to people falling for these commercial tactics. This is going to affect future generations."

This isn't the first time Seventeen fans have thrown away albums. Last year, they received backlash for dumping opened copies of the group's 10th extended play (EP) FML on the streets of South Korea.

One fan reportedly even opened 31 albums for what they wanted and left the copies in a cafe within a record shop.


The Korea Times reported last year that the amount of plastic used to make albums has increased 14 times since 2017, with at least 1,395 tonnes of plastic waste produced from the CDs alone without taking into account packaging and other merchandise.

A digital climate initiative called Kpop4Planet also started a global advocacy campaign, No K-pop on a Dead Planet, aiming to make the industry more eco-friendly, but their 2021 survey showed that 95.6 per cent of respondents put the onus of sustainability on the entertainment companies themselves.

The multiple choice question also showed 59.4 per cent of respondents placed the responsibility on K-pop fandoms and 39.5 per cent on the idol groups.

So what can the fans do?

While photocards and other limited-edition merchandise can be lucrative, one solution to preventing waste comes from a Seventeen member himself.

Idol The8 was disheartened to find out fans were getting upset over not receiving the photocard they wanted, and suggested: "Just print it yourself."

"My goodness, just because you can't get something you like, that you think looks handsome — because you couldn't get something you wanted, you'd experience so much negative energy?" he said during a 2022 Weibo livestream.

"Just because of one photocard, you're going to be stuck in this moment of your life?"

He even said he would take "more selfies" for fans to print out by themselves.


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