Zero Waste and Resource Recycling Promotion

(I) General Waste Recycling and Reuse Promotion

The EPA began to implement waste minimization at the source, compulsory garbage sorting, and expanded the scope of waste recycling from July 2002. The average amount of Municipal Solid Waste (MSW) collected for disposal reached 0.400 kg per capita per day in 2020, which dropped by 61.12% from the peak value in 1998. The percentage of MSW that was properly disposed of increased from 60.17% in 1989 to 96.86% in 2020. The recycling rate of MSW increased from 24.01% in 2004 to 62.71% in 2020. The recycling rate of MSW includes the resource recycling rate (56.40%), the kitchen waste recycling rate (5.71%) and the bulk waste recycling rate (0.60%). The increase of resource recycling rate indicates that the progress is approaching the goal of Zero Waste Program:

  1. The EPA continuously promotes the programs of mandatory garbage sorting, resource recycling, and the reduction of disposable products. Recently, the EPA introduced the restriction on excessive packaging, as well as restriction of the manufacturing, import, and sales of manganese-zinc batteries and non-button type alkaline manganese batteries containing over 5 ppm of mercury from September, 2006. Furthermore, the EPA announced the imports of mercury-added switches, relays, high-pressure mercury lamps for general lighting, and non-electronic measuring instruments (barometers, hygrometers, manometers, thermometers, sphygmomanometers, etc.) are prohibited from January 1, 2021, to strengthen domestic mercury control and achieve the goal of maintaining environmental safety.
  2. For towards circular economy and sustainable development, EPA actively promotes "resource recycling and zero waste" by Reduction, Reuse, Recycling, Energy Recovery, Land Reclamation and Redesign. Promoting the reuse of inorganic recycled pellet would reduce the demand for final disposal of waste. In view of the insufficient capacity of the final waste disposal facilities and the difficulty in setting up facilities, EPA currently actively promotes the appropriate diversion and application of recycled pellets, including the use of recycled pellets in public works, the use of recycled pellets in port land reclamation and cement kilns as a resource recycling center, etc.
  3. As for the waste-collection vehicle upgrade program, we subsidized counties and cities with a total of 89 waste-collection vehicles in 2020. This kind of collective contract arrangement substantially saved cost and resources for local governments. The EPA also continues to assist local governments in establishing septic waste treatment facilities and creating collection and classification schemes for building renovation waste. By 2021, it is estimated that septic waste treatment capacity will reach 1,763 tonnes per day, and nearly 300,000 tonnes of reusable resources can be salvaged from building renovation waste.

(II) Promotion of Industrial Waste Recycling & Reuse

  1. To sustainably utilize resources, participating government agencies actively promote waste recycling and reuse in accordance with the Waste Disposal Act. Currently, responsible agencies associated with the project have defined 89 types of industrial waste as due recyclable and reusable general industrial waste and their recycling management measures in accordance with Subparagraph 2, Article 39 of the Waste Disposal Act. Among these wastes, 53 types are under the jurisdiction of the Ministry of Economic Affairs, 5 types under the Ministry of the Interior, 2 types under the Ministry of Finance, 1 types under the Ministry of Transportation and Communications, 6 types under the Department of Health, and 11 types under the Council of Agriculture etc. Meanwhile, 420 waste recycling and reuse permits have been issued.
  2. The EPA has actively promoted the establishment of Environmental Science and Technology Parks (ESTPs) since 2003. The establishment of ESTPs can upgrade environmental technology and promote resource reuse, recycling and recovery.
  3. To effectively upgrade and resolve related problems of construction and demolition waste recycling and reuse, the EPA requested relevant government agencies to consider the possibility of using products made from recyclable and reusable waste materials in their public construction projects. Through the efforts of these government agencies, the usage of such products in public construction has been increased gradually

(III) Implementation of Pollution Source Permit Management Scheme

  1. In order to track and control industrial waste streams, starting in August 1998 the EPA has announced in batches operations that tend to generate hazardous or large amounts of industrial waste, requiring these operations that tend to provide their clean-up plans, as well as status reports thereof on the Internet. Towards the end of December 2008, of the 23,942 pollution sources for which clean-up plans were required, 23,304 submissions had been made, a rate of 97.3%. Of the 22,527 reports that were required to be submitted on the Internet, 21,763, or 96.6%, of them had been done. Local Environmental Protection Bureaus (EPBs) and municipal level environmental bureaus have been following some exceptional cases. By the end of December 2008, 7,678 cases had been investigated. Charges have been made or penalties given in 403 of these cases. This management scheme has effectively controlled the clean-up of the industrial waste stream and curbed illegal disposal activities.
  2. Public and private waste clearance and disposal organizations must obtain operation permits granted by the EPBs to ensure that every stage of their operation complies with environmental laws and regulations, and to prevent pollution during waste transportation and treatment. As of the end of December 2008, 2,975 organizations had been granted clearance and disposal licenses, with total treatment capacity of 673,768 metric tonnes, and transporting capacity of 4.47 million metric tonnes. Every year, the EPA conducts on-site inspections to ensure the public and private waste clearance and disposal organizations comply with the Waste Disposal Act. The EPA also provides technical guidance and assistance to these organizations.
  3. To improve pollution source permit management, the project “Planning of the Baseline Information and Online Reporting Integration in the Areas of Air, Water, Waste, and Toxic Substances” was carried out in 2006. Through an integrated website, reporters can check their baseline information and access their own information reported previously, when applying for permits and reporting pollutant discharge information. This service, which was made available for reporters to review on August 1, 2007, effectively eliminated redundant reporting work and offered a convenient tool to trace pollutant generation sources.

(IV)Reinforcement of Waste Import/Export and International Cooperation

  1. Taiwan has fully committed to effective waste management in the transboundary movements of hazardous wastes and their disposal by adopting the Basel Convention provisions into its domestic laws. The domestic laws require the exporter/importer to have an import/export permit issued by a competent authority before undertaking export/import operations. For hazardous waste export/import, the central competent authority must first approve the permit. Among the waste imported, the major ones are waste cables, waste motors, and waste compressors. The EPA audits the export information by looking at the exporters’ reporting data. The customs office also assists the EPA in preventing illegal traffic in waste through active inspection and reporting the results back to the EPA.
  2. Considering the global trend toward resource recycling and reuse, some industrial wastes are designated as raw materials for industrial use. Permit application prior to import/export is not required for waste under this category. There are a total of 19 categories of waste designated as raw materials for industrial use. Such measures can simplify the import/export process and make the domestic resource recycling and reuse industry more competitive internationally. Also, resource recycling and reuse can be encouraged, leading to a reduction in the amount of waste treated.

(V) Major Administrative Tasks for the Future

  1. The EPA has actively promoted the establishment of Environmental Science and Technology Parks (ESTPs) since 2003. The establishment of ESTPs can upgrade environmental technology and promote resource reuse, recycling and recovery. By the end of 2011, the ESTP programs have completed, and governments (Taoyuan City, Tainan City, Kaohsiung City, and Hualien City) have been responsible for providing land, and services for establishment, recruitment, and operations.
  2. In accordance with the international trend of “phasing out and ultimately banning the use of mercury,” the EPA will review and revise the control measures for the manufacture, import and sale of mercury-containing dry cells, in order to reduce the spread of mercury in the environment gradually. Moreover, the imports of mercury-added switches, relays, high-pressure mercury lamps for general lighting, and non-electronic measuring instruments (barometers, hygrometers, manometers, thermometers, sphygmomanometers, etc.) are prohibited to strengthen domestic mercury control and achieve the goal of maintaining environmental safety.The EPA will continue to promote measures in phases to reduce use of disposable products, and encourage the production and design of green packaging products. Mandatory garbage sorting and the expansion in the scope of waste recyclable items will continue in order to increase the benefits of recycling programs. The EPA will track and audit the wastes recycled to prevent pollution during the recycling processes.
  3. Regarding promotion of the recovery of bioenergy from agricultural residues, the EPA is using rice straw to conduct collection and treatment research, including : field verification of collection, transportation, treatment and reuse methods, and cost-benefit analysis. The EPA will coordinate with the Council of Agriculture to obtain investigation and planning information on agricultural residues. The EPA will also collect and research information from overseas. After investigation and research, the EPA will conduct an assessment on transforming existing municipal solid waste incineration plants into bioenergy centers by co-disposing of agricultural residues. In the bioenergy center, different feedstocks will be converted into solid bio-fuel or bio-coal by several pretreatment processes, such as mechanical heat treatment, torrefaction, etc.. The end use of bio-coal will be co-fired off-site in commercial coal power plants for higher electricity energy efficiency, and installation of other novel energy conversion technologies on-site will also be evaluated in the long term.
  4. Among the companies in the four ESTPs, some have cooperated with each other to establish ecological linkages of production, material, and energy cycles. In the future, promotion seminars and related activities will be held regularly to attract green industries to set up facilities in the ESTPs. Companies or organizations that set up operations in an ESTP will be eligible for research subsidies of up to 50% of their research expenditures.
Environmental Protection Administration, R.O.C.(Taiwan)
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