The EPA has been working to improve the effectiveness of paper tableware recycling through a series of policy measures and public information campaigns. In 2020, 159,897 metric tons of waste paper tableware was recycled, which was nearly double the amount recycled in 2019. The recycling rate increased significantly from 48.31% in 2017 to more than 89% in 2020, reaching a new annual high in the past three years.
(1)Put green diet, recycling and sorting into practice
In 2020, the EPA implemented the Paper Tableware Recycling Friendly Store Program in conjunction with all local environmental bureaus. The program assists and subsidizes buffet and lunch box store operators to set up dedicated waste paper tableware recycling facilities, place garbage bins and food scrap bins alongside recyclable bins, install automated voice equipment to remind customers, and post awareness-raising posters. The measures guide operators on ways to improve dining environments and increase the quality of collected paper tableware for better recycling. After receiving assistance, 2,900 buffet and lunch box stores (about 80% of the assisted) completed the installation of the equipment.
To make paper tableware recycling more practicable, on 4 January 2021, the EPA preannounced the draft of relevant regulations, specifying that buffet and lunch box stores shall install a dedicated recycling area for paper tableware. The regulations are expected to become effective on 1 July 2021. At present, assistance is provided so operators can respond early.
(2)Caring for the base-level recyclers and enhancing the recycling system
To care for self-employed recyclers, the EPA subsidized local governments to implement the Warm Care Recycling Program, registering self-employed recyclers that collect recyclables. From 1 Aug 2019, the maximum subsidy for each self-employed recycler was raised from NT$2,000 to NT$3,500 per month. As the recycling rate for paper tableware had been low, the unit price for collected paper tableware was increased to NT$18/kg, much higher than the price for general recyclables (lower than NT$2/kg), to increase the incentives to boost the recycling rate. In July 2010, self-employed recyclers were matched with buffet and lunch box stores to collect paper lunch boxes. The measure was quite effective, which also helped meet the the welfare needs and rights of self-employed recyclers.
(3)Providing guidance to expand processing capacity and raising processors’ incentives
The EPA successfully assisted Cheng Loong Corporation (Zhubei Mill) and Chung Hwa Pulp Corporation (Taitung Mill) to join as waste paper tableware processors in December 2018 and July 2019, respectively. The EPA will continue to provide guidance to add more processors in other counties and cities in order to expand the distribution of operators in the recycling system. Currently, there are three subsidized waste paper container processors in Taiwan. With a total designed processing capacity of 249,600 metric tons per year, they are capable of processing all waste paper tableware collected in the nation.
In addition, to encourage recycling and sorting, a subsidy rate increase (from NT$7.25 to NT$7.86 per kilogram) for the recycling and processing industry was phased in between 1 May to 31 October 2020. This also helped to raise the recycling volume for paper tableware.
(4)Organizing promotional activities to strengthen the concept of recycling
The EPA organized a disposable tableware and beverage cup recycling promotion flash event and a press conference on paper tableware cleaning, sorting and stacking, and invited internet celebrities to shoot promotional videos to be broadcast on online media. In addition, promotional posters were made and sent to all local governments and pre-recorded interviews were broadcast through radio stations to urge people to put “cleaning, sorting and stacking” of paper tableware into practice, raising public awareness of paper tableware recycling. Moreover, the EPA also publishes an online resource recycling newsletter (R-paper), which has about 40,000 subscribers.
Excerpt from Major Environmental Policies, May 2021
- Environmental Protection Administration, R.O.C.(Taiwan)