Taiwan bans plastic
The Taiwanese Government has banned the free distribution of plastic bags and disposable tableware in restaurants, department stores, supermarkets, convenience stores and fast-food outlets.The Government aims to reduce its plastic waste by 30%, reports the Seattle Times. Instead of going down the recycling route, which has been tried before but failed, Taiwan has chosen the more environmentally sustainable waste minimisation solution.
The plastics industry is disappointed with the decision, claiming that the new law could cut its business by half and lead to widespread layoffs. It would have preferred a five-year delay to the ban.
Around 20% of the country’s waste is plastic, and most of this is disposed of by incineration. “We use 20 billion plastic bags a year, Hsiung-Wen Chen, Director General of Taiwan’s Environmental Protection Agency’s Bureau of Solid Waste Management, is reported as saying. “That means 2.5 plastic bags are used per capita every day. It’s very environmentally unfriendly.”
Companies violating the ban will be fined in the region of US$1,700 to $8,500, but at the same time, the Government is offering some assistance to laid-off workers as well as low-interest loans to help companies adjust their business strategies.