Source minimization and resource recycling

A. Background Source

The EPA promoted the "Resource Recycling Four-in-One Program" in 1997 and integrated residents, recycling companies, local governments, and recycling funds to carry out resource recycling and waste minimization. The program has largely increased the recycling rate of resources. The EPA further promoted the recycling of kitchen waste and bulky waste from 2001 and 2003, respectively. In line with the new trends of sustainable resources and zero waste, the EPA launched a "Zero Waste Program" to minimize waste, and promoted green manufacturing, green consumption, source minimization, as well as resource recycling, reuse, and regeneration. Implementing the program will help decrease the use of raw materials and effectively recycle resources. It is expected that waste will decrease by 25% by 2007, 40% by 2011 and 75% by 2020.

  B. Measures  Source

(1) The EPA continues implementing "Resource Recycling Four-in-One Program. " Thirty-three types of containers and articles have been listed as recyclable wastes. The EPA also continues to enhance the management of the recycling system.
The Recycling Management Fund’s mode of operation is based on the implementation system established by the Four-in-One Resource Recycling Program. The roles of the 4 players (communities, recycling enterprise, recycling fund and municipalities) in the Four-in-One Program are illustrated in the Figure.

Figure2 20110413(view the full size image in the new window)

a. Communities: (a) organize community-based voluntary recycling organizations; and (b) promote garbage separation in households and communities;

b. Recycling enterprise: (a) encourage development of private recycling industry; and (b) purchase recyclable waste from residents, community organizations and municipal garbage collection teams. c. Municipal garbage collection teams: (a) separate and collect both regular garbage and recyclable resources; and (b) provide a predetermined portion of the proceeds from selling the collected resources to the participating organizations and involved workers.

d. Recycling Fund: (a) supervise the designated responsible entities in submitting the clean-up, treatment and recycling fees, and establish the resource recycling fund; (b) adopt subsidy and incentive mechanism in promoting the resource recycling scheme; and (c) establish effective recycling scheme and provide convenient recycling channels.

(2) In 2005, the EPA introduced a two-phase waste sorting program requesting the public to separate the waste into resources, kitchen waste, and garbage. In the first phase, the program was implemented in seven cities and ten counties, In the second phase, the program was applied nationwide from January 1, 2006.

(3) The EPA promotes the recycling and reuse of kitchen waste and bulky waste by subsidizing local governments to recycle kitchen waste. The subsidies cover education, promotion, and recycling equipment. Local governments also provide bulky waste collection services, and organize auctions of refurbished furniture to encourage the reuse of bulky waste. 

(4) Since 2002, the EPA requested government agencies, schools, Hyper marks and supermarkets to stop providing plastic shopping bags and disposable plastic tableware.In July 2006, the EPA requested government agencies to stop using disposable tableware, and the same ban has been imposed on all schools since September 2006. From July 2007, paper cups were not allowed to be used in government agencies and schools. Starting from August 8, 2019, restaurants in department stores, shopping malls, and hypermarkets have been prohibited from providing disposable tableware in any material type for consumers eating in.

(5) The EPA introduced "Excessive Packaging Restriction to regulate the size of packaging of software CDs and gift boxes. The restrictions have been applied to CDs of computer programs, pastry gift boxes, cosmetic gift boxes and alcohol beverage gift boxes since July 1, 2006. The restrictions have been applied to processed food gift boxes since July 1, 2007.

(6) The EPA restricted the manufacture, import and sale of manganese-zinc batteries and non-button type alkaline manganese batteries that contain over 5 ppm of mercury from September 1, 2006, the contain over 1ppm of mercury and the contain over 20ppm of cadmium form January 1,2016. Besides, the content of button cell type batteries will also be restricted (Mercury content < 5ppm; Cadmium content < 20 ppm) from January 1, 2017.Furthermore, the EPA has established phased measures to reduce use of mercury thermometers. Since July 2008, in Phase 1, mercury thermometers were restricted to be imported only by importers granted with a valid permit, and the thermometers can only be sold to medical establishments. In Phase II, the import and sale of mercury thermometers will be prohibited comprehensively from July 1, 2011.

(7) The EPA announced mobile phones and their chargers as recycling items under enforcement authority on April 4, 2006 and October 30, 2008, respectively. The EPA and mobile telecommunication industry signed a voluntary “Memorandum of Cooperation in Recycling of Waste Mobile Communications Equipment” on December 30, 2009. Since January 15, 2009, more than 2000 mobile telecommunication businesses recycle mobile phones and their accessories for free in Taiwan.

(8) In July 2008, convenience store chains stopped proactively providing disposable chopsticks. 

(9) Since May 1st, 2011, chain convenience stores, chain fast food restaurants, and chain beverage stores should offer discounts for customers with self-prepared drinking cups. Or they should recycle their used drinking cups by providing recycling award—one dollar for two used drinking cups.

(10)Starting from July 1, 2019, the following entities have been prohibited from providing disposable plastic straws for consumers eating in.:Public institution, schools, department stores & shopping malls, and fast-food chains.

C. Achievements

(1) According to the "Resource Recycling Four-in-One Program," the recyclable resources collected increased from 556,000 tonnes in 2000 to 943,928 tonnes in 2011.

(2) The collected resources increased from 554,200 tonnes in 1998 to 3,319,617 tonnes in 2015. The recycling rate increased from 5.87% to 45.92%. The collected kitchen waste increased from 216 tonnes in 2001 to 609,706 tonnes in 2015. The recycling rate of kitchen waste increased from 0.003% in 2001 to 8.43% in 2015. The bulky waste collected weighed 63,578 in 2015, and the recycling rate was 0.88%.


The waste management system has been shifted from end-of-pipe control to source management. The EPA will strengthen the existing programs and initiate new policies or plans to facilitate source reduction and resource recycling.

E. Future

In the future, the EPA will formulate product policies that integrate the extended responsibilities of producers and eco-design principles to lower the impact of products on the environment.

Environmental Protection Administration, R.O.C.(Taiwan)
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