Mar 5th, 2018, 04:03 PM

Taiwan Is Done with Disposable Plastic

By Alina Hope Wong
Image Credit: Flikr / Horla Varlan
Image Credit: Flickr/Horla Varlan
The country is slowly implementing a plan to help clean up the ocean and reduce toxic waste

The Taiwanese government plans to ban all single-use plastic by 2030. This includes  takeaway beverage cups, drinking straws, shopping bags and disposable tableware. In the past, Taiwan took measures to reduce waste through ways such as a pristinely efficient recycling system and finding new uses for recycled plastic.  Regardless, the small country still churns out tons of plastic. A river in the North of Taiwan was found to leak about 14,700 tons of plastic debris into the ocean on an annual basis. 

Image Credit: Flikr / Hillary Daniels 

The government created a new "Sea Waste Management Platform" that will rid plastic from Taiwan in several stages, as listed in EcoWatch:

"Starting in 2019, food and beverage stores will be restricted from providing plastic straws for in-store use. In 2020, free plastic straws will be banned from all food and beverage establishments. As for plastic shopping bag phase, the EPA will implement a ban on all stores that issue uniform invoices in 2020. In 2025, prices on plastic shopping bags will be raised, and by 2030 such bags are to be completely banned. Starting in 2020, food and beverage businesses will not be allowed to provide customers inside their establishments with disposable utensils. In 2025, a price system will be implemented on disposable tableware, and by 2030 a complete ban will be imposed on disposable utensils. In 2020, plastic beverage cups will be restricted and by 2025 users will have to pay an extra fee to use them. By 2030 takeaway beverage cups will be completely banned."

The emphasis of the ban is on plastic straws. Taiwan is considered the origin of boba tea, and each beverage usually is served through a plastic cup and straw. Last year, Taiwan saw a record amount of 10.69 million tourists. The tourists' and locals' appetite for these drinks combined only increased plastic consumption. 

Image Credit: Flickr/Kevin Lam 

Minister Lee Ying discussed alternatives to disposable plastic in Hong Kong Free Press.  He said, "You can use steel products or edible straws - or maybe you just don't need to use straws at all. There is no inconvenience caused at all."

 He further emphasized that the responsibility to take care of the environment does not rest solely on the Environmental Protection Administration, but the entire community as well. Taiwan is not the only country striving to reduce plastic use. According to The Independent, Scotland is planning to ban plastic straws by the end of 2019.