Facing the post-COVID-19 decade in Taiwan, all the departments of the EPA jointly launched the “Green Lifestyle for All” initiative with the purpose of reducing the burden on the environment. Everyone is encouraged to take greener approaches toward eating, clothing, housing, traveling, education, entertainment, shopping and other aspects of daily life. Actions such as eating local produce, buying green products, and promoting domestic travel can make the environment cleaner in Taiwan and also reduce Taiwan’s dependency on foreign materials and food.
In line with the government’s economic stimulus policy, the EPA has offered a complete package to promote green lifestyles, starting with a bonus system to encourage dining at green restaurants. A billion green points in total, equivalent to NT$10 million worth of bonuses, will be given from 1 July with a maximum of 15,000 green points per person.
Various reward programs promoting environment-friendly measures in all aspects of daily life will be launched between 1 July and the end of December 2020. The EPA strongly encouraged citizens to adopt a green lifestyle in the second half of 2020 to display Taiwan’s “green power” to the world alongside its achievements in battling the pandemic.
The EPA Minister Tzi-Chin Chang explained that Taiwan’s outstanding performance in fighting COVID-19 comes from people fully adopting the government’s measures such as mask-wearing and keeping a safe social distance. This shows Taiwanese are responsible people and are capable of outdoing themselves in environmental protection if they have the will. He emphasized that, instead of a one-time event or a short-term effort to boost the economy, the initiative is a social program that brings behavioral changes via shifts in attitudes and habits. Therefore, these rewards will serve as an incentive at the beginning, not merely as subsidies that make people take more environment-friendly actions only when they are rewarded. The ultimate goal is to encourage the public to internalize environment-friendly practices as lifelong habits.
Minister Chang took eating as an example and talked about the EPA’s past efforts in promoting the recycling of food waste. He thought more should be done to cut down food waste through bagging leftovers when dining out. More waste can be avoided if all parts of produce and food can be used in cooking. Additionally, using local produce reduces carbon emissions due to shorter shipping distances, and use of in-season produce yields the highest nutritional value as well as lowers the use of agrochemicals.
In the second half of 2020, the EPA will propose more comprehensive programs to promote green living, such as plastic-reduction initiatives, low carbon and clean air in night markets. The historic Grand Hotel will also take the lead to promote “no leftovers”. Other initiatives include conserving energy when staying home due to the epidemic, air quality improvement with environmental beautification, recycling household appliances and electronic waste, and bartering.
During the post-COVID-19 era, the EPA will keep promoting the “Green Lifestyle for All” initiative, which includes six major aspects: “Green Travel”, “Green Eating”, “Green Consumption”, “Green Home Life”, “Green Energy”, and “Green Office”. And with “using local products”, “cherishing resources” and “protecting the environment” as core values, the EPA will collaborate with other agencies, local governments, civic organizations, and corporations to promote environment-friendly approaches in people’s daily lives.
Excerpt from Environmental Policy Monthly, 23 (7)
- Ministry of Environment