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Taipei City Launches Further Ban on Disposable Tableware Starting January 1, 2020

Replacing disposable tableware with reusable ones helps to reduce waste. A total of 54 department stores and shopping malls across Taipei City will be prohibited from providing disposable tableware of any material starting January 1, 2020. Infractions will be fined NT$1,200-6,000 in accordance with Article 51 of the Waste Disposal Act.

In an effort to promote waste reduction, Taipei City Government will step up its effort to ban the use of disposable tableware. According to the Department of Environmental Protection (DEP), since the city government implemented the ban on the use of disposable and melamine tableware at city hall in April 2016, the principle of "from the inside out, and from the public to private" has been applied to progressively decrease the use of disposable tableware throughout Taipei.

The agency pointed out that source reduction is a major concern of Mayor Ko’s, and therefore the city government has applied the principle of "from the inside out, and from the public to private," banning the use of disposable and melamine tableware at city hall, government organizations and schools in April and in August of 2016, respectively. So far, use of paper and plastic containers in the city hall building have reduced by 82% and 66%, respectively. Taipei City Government is progressively promoting the ban policy to the private sector. In April 2017, Pacific SOGO Department Store has become the industry leader in supporting city government’s initiative, replacing all tableware used in the restaurants and food courts throughout its 8 stores nationwide with reusable tableware. In a bid to fulfill the company's corporate social responsibilities and make progress with Taipei City, SOGO has also launched a series of eco-friendly, healthy eating campaigns. The policy is currently supported by 111 businesses, 24 colleges and universities, 22 markets and 9 night markets.

According to DEP Commissioner Liou Ming-lone, in an effort to minimize the use of disposable tableware, the agency has negotiated with the Environmental Protection Administration (EPA) to amend regulations restricting the use of disposable tableware. The amendment was promulgated on August 8, 2019, stating that the department store industry, shopping malls, and the hypermarket industry may no longer provide dine-in patrons with disposable tableware. Furthermore, local municipalities are authorized to submit their implementation date for the approval of the central government before applying the policy. In light of this, the DEP has already convened 2 briefings on August 16 and 20, while an official letter has been sent to the EPA on September 2 to implement the policy in 54 department stores and shopping malls throughout Taipei City starting January 1, 2020.

The DEP explained that source reduction is an international trend in order to reduce the volume of waste and minimize resource consumption. According to the UN, over 8 million tons of trash is dumped into the ocean every year, and therefore the Blue Ocean Vision was adopted by the G20 Osaka Summit in 2019, which aims to reduce additional pollution by marine plastic litter to zero by 2050. On the other hand, the EU plans to limit the use of disposable tableware by 2021, demonstrating the world’s commitment to achieving the goal of zero waste.

According to the agency, the concept of a traceless diet has taken the world by storm, so Taipei City Government will continue to enact the concept and values of environmental protection by changing consumer behaviors, where citizens are encouraged to bring their own reusable tableware in a bid to transform Taipei into a livable, sustainable city.