Zero Waste via Circular Economy and Recycling



In December 2003, the Executive Yuan passed the Evaluation and Outlook for Garbage Disposal Plans (垃圾處理方案之檢討與展望). Since then various efforts have been taken concerning zero waste, mandatory garbage sorting, diverse reuse of kitchen wastes, large-sized waste items, waste from renovations, manure mixed with night-soil treatment facility installations, and replacement of obsolete garbage clearance and transport equipment. As the Mandatory Garbage Sorting Plan (垃圾強制分類計畫) is carried out in stages, great progress is evident in recycling and reuse statistics. Taiwan’s average daily garbage clearance per capita has gradually fallen since 1998, and by 2017 it was less than the previous highest average of 64.75%.The amount of resources found within garbage has decreased as well, and the waste recycling rate reached 60.22% in 2017.

Over 60% resources recycled via proper sorting

The Four-in-One Resource Recycling Plan (資源回收四合一計畫), in effect since 1997, targets waste recycling and reduction by coordinating community members, recyclers, local governments, and recycling funds, as well as encouraging public participation. Recycling organizations established voluntarily by citizens and communities properly sort through discarded materials and household-produced garbage, which are separated and collected at recycling spots by local cleaning teams or private recyclers. Moreover, local cleaning teams and recyclers are subsidized with the recycling fund to establish a comprehensive resource recycling system, so materials can be effectively recycled and reused. Mandatory garbage sorting began in 2005. Household trash is required to be divided into three categories, as resources, kitchen waste, and garbage, and then separately collected or disposed of by cleaning teams. Per-bag trash collection fees, implemented in certain counties, cities, or regions, also contribute to trash reduction, sorting, recycling, and reuse. After the Environmental Education Act (環境教育法) was promulgated, environmental education has become more in-depth to help the public become more knowledgeable of environmental protection principles in their daily lives.

Reuse of industrial waste

The EPA amended the Waste Disposal Act (廢棄物清理法) on 24 October 2001 to promote proper industrial waste management and reuse. Article 39 mandates that industrial waste reuse is to be implemented as required by the central competent authorities. Since then, 10 agencies have respectively formulated regulations and management systems relevant to industrial waste reuse specific to industries under their jurisdictions. They include the Ministry of Economic Affairs (MOEA), the Ministry of Science and Technology (MOST), the Council of Agriculture (COA), the Ministry of Health and Welfare (MOHW), the Ministry of the Interior (MOI), the Ministry of Transportation and Communications (MOTC), the Ministry of Education (MOE), the Ministry of Finance(MOF), the National Communications Commission (NCC), and the EPA.

Via joint efforts of various central competent authorities, 80% of industrial waste is reused. This indicates that regulatory revisions have effectively led to the reuse of Taiwan’s waste and resource materials in order to reach the goal of zero waste. According to each central competent authorities’ regulations, industrial waste can be reused in the factories or plants which produce it, in accordance with announcements and tables in the regulations, and as otherwise permitted.

(1) Reuse in originating factories (plants): For enterprises listed under Article 31 Paragraph 1 of the Waste Disposal Act, waste can be reused in the factories (plants) where it is produced. Industrial waste disposal proposals are required to be evaluated and approved by the municipal, county, or city authorities or agencies commissioned by the central authorities. Enterprises not listed may reuse industrial waste inside the originating factories (plants) without approval.

(2) Reuse according to announcements/tables listed in regulations: For industrial wastes of a stable nature, or that involve mature reuse technology, enterprises and reuse agencies can process the waste according to the categories and management methods announced or promulgated by the central competent authorities.

(3) Reuse as permitted: For categories and management methods not under the aforementioned announcements/tables, industrial waste can be sent to reuse agencies for reuse only with permission from the central competent authorities.

There are a total of 104 categories of industrial waste listed in announcements and tables, as well as roughly 1,400 agencies that reuse industrial waste. In 2004, the industrial waste that was reported totalled 1,887 tons. The majority went to reuse, comprising 1,520 tons, or 80% of registered industrial waste.

Recently, large amounts of registered reutilized products were found to have been dumped or misused, creating potential environmental risks. As a result, the EPA required environmental authorities to re-examine the specifications for certain products, which are used for evaluating proposed plans for industrial waste disposal. In addition, communication and coordination between industrial and commercial registrants need to be strengthened. The competent authorities relevant to each industry are to impose penalties based on pertinent regulations, should incidents such as product dumping, illegal usage, or other environmental problems occur.

Aiming to enhance the effectiveness of management in response to changes in the economy and overall industrial structure in the last decade, the EPA began reviewing industrial waste reuse conditions in 2003. Future control strategies were also formulated with short-, mid-, and long-term projects in order to increase the responsibilities of resource reuse entities, expand responsibilities and self-regulation of production sources, and enhance control over the flow of reuse products.

(1) Short-term projects Speeding up legislation of the Resource Recycling and Reuse Act (draft) (源循環利用法) Formulating, establishing, and maintaining the reuse product reporting system that integrates and utilizes administrative resources Conducting special investigations firstly on products from reused materials, including management risks, and also increasing frequency of audits

(2) Mid-term projects Setting up management regulations for industrial waste reuse agencies, reuse categories and control methods, permits and control mechanisms for reuse agencies, and other complementary measures, all in response to the implementation of the Resource Recycling and Reuse Act Continuing to conduct special investigations on reuse products considered high-risk, making audit plans for specific industrial wastes, and increasing the scope of controlled enterprises

(3) Long-term projects

Reviewing implementation conditions for the Resource  Recycling and Reuse Act, and continuing to evaluate and improve auditing mechanisms for reuse agencies and various complementary measures Setting up an integrated resource management system, and holding regular audits on reuse agencies For information on reuse agencies, please visit the Resource Management System at tw.

Future outlook

The EPA stressed that Taiwan’s garbage clearance policies will continue to focus on at-source reduction and recycling in line with the trends of resource sustainability and zero waste. Green production and consumption, at-source reduction, and resource recycling, reuse, and reutilization will continue to be promoted to effectively recycle and utilize resources, gradually achieving the goals of total recycling and zero waste.

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