On 8 August 2019, the EPA announced the revised Targets and Implementation Methods for Restricted Use of Single-Use Utensils. The revisions aim to encourage people to carry their own utensils and use washable and reusable ones, while reducing disposable ones. The revised regulations prohibit department stores, shopping centers, and retail stores from providing single-use utensils made of any materials when customers eat at their premises.
Cutting down on plastic is an international trend. The 170 attending nations at the Fourth UN Environmental Assembly pledged to greatly reduce disposable plastic products by 2030, and the EU also made plans to limit the use of single-use utensils, including forks, knives, spoons, and chopsticks, by 2021. In addition, the Osaka Blue Ocean Vision that was passed at the G20 Osaka Summit reached an agreement on oceanic plastic waste, which was a goal of zero plastic use by 2050. In order to assist the public to change their habits, the EPA began with itself and promoted the concept of “not choosing single-use utensils” and then gradually helped the public and enterprises to also adopt such behaviors.
In light of various business scales, types, and locations, regional competent authorities are required to collect opinions from all sectors and propose to the central government effective dates for implementing controls on each industry, based on the circumstances within their own jurisdictions. Dates for limits and bans will be announced and take effect after the central competent authorities approve them. Violators will be subject to fines of NT$1,200~6,000, according to the Waste Disposal Act Article 51 paragraph 3.
The EPA stated that food and beverage enterprises in counties and cities that have already announced the implementation of restrictions on single-use utensils should comply with the policies, and it also encouraged enterprises in other places to voluntarily switch to reusable utensils. Meanwhile, citizens are encouraged to carry their own utensils as part of a more environmentally-friendly lifestyle.
Excerpt from Environmental Policy Monthly, 22 (9)
- Environmental Protection Administration, R.O.C.(Taiwan)