On 23 September, the EPA held the annual meeting of International E-Waste Management Network (IEMN) online with experts from nine countries participating. Over 100 attendees actively discussed global issues on net-zero emissions, advocated the idea of circular economy toward partner countries in the world, and exchanged relevant experiences and technologies in order to build a net-zero emission, sustainable model for e-waste recycling.
The event was organized jointly with the USEPA. Experts from nine countries, including the US, India, Japan, Argentina, Colombia, Brazil, the Philippines, and Tuvalu, were invited to share the latest trend and status of e-waste controls, through which net-zero emissions could be speedily reached. There were also domestic enterprises displaying results of net-zero emissions, sustainable development, and recycling. It is hoped that developing partner nations could be drawn onto this path through exchanges of domestic and global strategies and leading technologies.
Since 2011, IEMN has been promoted by both the US and Taiwan, helping partner nations establish effective management systems. Taiwan has become a great example for nations to take lesson from for its success in setting up a recycling and disposal system with collections of recycling funds and subsidization as well as over 70% e-waste recycling rate as a technological edge. And IEMN has gradually shifted its emphasis on e-waste recycling and disposal to transformation strategies toward a circular economy in an effort to achieve net-zero emissions and sustainability.
In his opening speech, EPA Minister Tzi-Chin Chang expressed that, because of impacts from climate change, net-zero emissions has become not only the hottest of all strategies in sustainable development but also an important solution for nations to cope with extreme weather patterns. Answering the call for net-zero emissions, Taiwan announced this year its pathway to reach such a goal by 2050 in which recycling will play a critical role. The EPA has been actively working on recycling since its establishment, thus successfully setting up an infrastructure and formulating policies for the recycling industry. Achievements over the years include the unique fee-collection and subsidization system that extends producer responsibility, the Four-in-One Recycling Program, and the current efforts to promote circular economy. As a result, Taiwan has seen its recycling rate gradually rising to the current level of over 60%.
Minister Chang further noted that the EPA has been utilizing innovative ideas for at-source waste reduction and waste reuse. For instance, the new plastic reduction policy mandates that stores should provide discounts for shoppers who bring their own beverage cups, and recycled materials are added to plastic packaging materials. All these have been the result of putting ideas of the new generation into practice and allowing them to become a driving force in environmental protection. Meanwhile, environmental education is facilitated to raise awareness of the public and encourage people to participate so that environmental protection can be implemented with greater ease.
Excerpt from Major Environmental Policies, October 2022
- Environmental Protection Administration, R.O.C.(Taiwan)