During the pandemic, the use of all types of single-use tableware has increased. According to the EPA’s statistics, the amount of single-use tableware recycled, including waste plastic boxes and waste plastic plates, was 5,343 metric tons in May and June 2021, a 31.5% increase compared to the same period in 2020 (4,063 metric tons). The subsidy fee rate was NT$9.5/kg. All these waste tableware have been properly processed by 11 domestic processors that are capable of processing these types of waste plastics. Additionally, there are three domestic processors that are capable of processing waste paper tableware. Statistics show that 26,700 metric tons of waste paper tableware were recycled in May and June 2021, 3.3% more than the same period in 2020 (25,847 metric tons).
According to the EPA regulations, government agencies, school cafeterias, department stores, shopping centers, hypermarkets, and food and beverage businesses with a storefront shall not use plastic disposable tableware. If businesses, affected by the pandemic, have the need to use disposable tableware, they can apply to the local environmental authority for their use. Once approved, they can use it for 90 days, but they must also strengthen the recycling of it. A total of 171 businesses in 13 counties and cities have applied.
In addition, during the pandemic, the number of food deliveries has also increased. Since 2020, the EPA has been cooperating with food delivery platforms, tableware rental companies and environmental bureaus in a pilot project on environment-friendly deliveries using environment-friendly tableware for catering and then recycling the tableware for reuse. The project will continue to be run and promoted.
In addition to strengthening the recycling of all types of tableware, the EPA, after the pandemic subsides, will continue to encourage members of the public to carry their own tableware and businesses to provide tableware rental services through regulatory controls, economic incentives and innovative circular business models to reduce the use of disposable tableware. It looks forward to promoting reusable container rental service models in the post-pandemic era to halt the increased use of single-use tableware, so as to reduce the consumption of raw material and water and greenhouse gas emissions associated with tableware production.
Excerpt from Major Environmental Policies, September 2021
- Environmental Protection Administration, R.O.C.(Taiwan)