Many Taiwanese dine out frequently; hence, disposable tableware is used extensively. A common mistake people make while recycling is they often dispose of it as general waste or put paper tableware together with other regular paper waste. The EPA reminds the public that disposable tableware (cups, plates, bowls, boxes) should be recycled as “paper containers” and not be mixed with general paper waste.
The EPA points out that disposable paper tableware are treated with a layer of polyethylene (PE) or wax to increase water and oil resistance. Therefore, they are sent to professional waste paper container recyclers, who would recycle and regenerate them into pulp and plastic pellets to level up the recycling rate. If the disposable paper tableware is mixed in with other paper waste and transported to regular paper mills for recycling, as their recycling process is different from general waste paper (such as photocopying paper, newspapers, magazines, cartons, paper boxes, etc.), most of them will be considered as general waste and sent to an incinerator or boiler accruing higher treatment cost.
Excerpt from Environmental Policy Monthly, 23 (2)
- Environmental Protection Administration, R.O.C.(Taiwan)