Ample Processing Capacity Encourages Paper Tableware Recycling


In order to reduce waste at the source, the EPA continues to discourage the use of single-use products and strengthen the recycling and sorting of paper tableware. The effect has been increased significantly. Related information is as follows:

Paper tableware is not paper. Both paper tableware and paper should be recycled and they should be recycled separately. Paper tableware such as bowls, plates, cups, etc. are announced as recyclable containers. They are manufactured with their surfaces coated with a layer of polyethylene (PE) or wax to be water- and oil stain-proof. Therefore, their processing requires separating the plastic film from the paper and utilizing the plastic pellets (made from the separated plastic film) and pulp separately. The processing procedure is different from that of paper.

Paper tableware is worth recycling. The recycling and processing industry chain is also in place. After paper tableware is collected, it is sent to one of three professional paper tableware recycling plants. The total processing capacity of the three plants is 249,600 metric tons per year, which is far greater than the 159,897 metric tons of paper tableware recycled in 2020. Therefore, there is still a large remaining capacity for processing collected waste paper tableware. Paper tableware is recycled into plastic pellets and pulp, which can be used to produce plastic and paper products.

Strengthening the recycling and sorting at the source and promoting the cleaning, sorting and stacking with the Paper Tableware Recycling Friendly Store Program: The EPA continues to strengthen the public’s habit to sort and recycle waste paper tableware. In 2020, it promoted the program with all environmental protection bureaus, assisting and subsidizing buffet and lunch box store operators to set up special waste paper tableware recycling facilities, guiding them on ways to improve the dining environment, and educating the public to recycle. The maximum subsidy is NT$6,500. After the assistance, 2,900 buffet and lunch box stores (about 80% of the assisted) completed the installation of the facilities. In order to make paper tableware recycling more practicable, on 4 January 2021, the EPA preannounced the draft of Scope of Vendors Required to Set Up Paper Tableware Recycling Facilities, Facility Settings, Specifications and Other Compliance Measures, specifying that buffet and lunch box stores shall install a special recycling facility for paper tableware. The EPA’s goal is to promulgate it in the second half of the year.

Carrying out timely reviews to increase recycling incentives and the amount of recycled paper tableware. To increase the volume of recycled paper tableware, the EPA raised the per capita recycling subsidy for self-employed recyclers in August 2019, increasing the maximum monthly subsidy from NT$2,000 to NT$3,500. From March 2020, with Covid-19 spreading, economic activities and the global demand for crude oil was decreasing, and the decline in oil prices in turn affected the recycling and processing system’s supply chain prices, lowering the industry’s willingness to recycle and process paper tableware. As a result, the EPA raised the maximum subsidy from NT$3,500 to NT$5,000 per person for self-employed recyclers and kept it effective until December 2021. In July 2020, the EPA matched self-employed recyclers with the buffet and lunch box stores to collect paper lunch boxes. In addition, to raise the industry’s willingness to recycle paper tableware, the subsidy rate for the recycling and processing industry was increased from NT$7.25 to NT$7.86 per kilogram from 1 May to October 31 2020. Good results have been achieved in paper tableware recycling. In 2020, the audited and certified amount of recycled paper tableware was 159,897 metric tons, nearly double the amount in 2019 (80,645 metric tons) and the recycling rate has increased significantly from 44% in 2017 to over 85% to date.

Waste reduction at the source, promotion for the reduced use of single-use products. To reduce the use of single-use tableware at the source, the EPA is promoting “green life for all”, encouraging the use of reusable tableware and promoting rental services and sorting of recyclables in green night markets. It also encourages government agencies to use reusable tableware in meetings and educates people to practice “carrying one’s own, reusing and using less”, the three ways to reduce waste in the daily life.

Excerpt from Major Environmental Policies, Mar 2021

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