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Ministry of Environment Officially Established and Plaque Unveiled, in a move toward a Circular and Sustainable Future

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In response to environmental changes worldwide and the demand for an improvement in the quality of the environment in Taiwan, on May 24, 2023, President Tsai officially announced the Organic Act of the Ministry of Environment, which restructured the Environmental Protection Administration (EPA) as the Ministry of Environment. At the same time, the organic act established the Resource Circulation Administration (RECA), a tertiary level body with "resource circulation and zero waste" as its overall policy concern, and is tasked with transforming the concept of waste management to realize the concept of resource circulation and carbon emission reduction. Today (August 22) the Resource Circulation Administration held a plaque unveiling ceremony. Witnessed by guests from industrial, governmental, academic and research circles, Dr. Fuh-Sheng Shieu, Minister of the Ministry of Environment and Ying-Ying Lai, Director of the Resource Circulation Administration together held the plaque unveiling ceremony, which demonstrated Taiwan's determination to promote resource circulation and move toward sustainable resource circulation.

At the ceremony, Minister Shieu stated that every year Taiwan consumes almost 270 million metric tons of raw materials and generates approximately 32 million metric tons of waste. During his tenure as the President of National Chung Hsing University, Dr. Shieu founded the Academy of Circular Economy, the first of its kind in Asia. As well as being a research institute in one of Taiwan's key priority areas, it also collaborated with large companies with a specific focus on the sustainable development of industries and net-zero carbon emissions. The Academy developed research talents who could help industries to adopt innovative technologies.

The establishment of the Resource Circulation Administration marks a significant milestone in Taiwan's journey toward developing a resource circulation system. Taiwan has become globally renowned as a model of resource recycling, and Minister Shieu hopes that with continuing effort, industries, the government, academics and researchers will grow and work together toward making Taiwan a model and focal point for resource circulation in Asia.

The Resource Circulation Administration will by guided by three major circulation strategies and two key facilitation pillars as its main policy framework. The three strategies are: green designs for waste reduction at source; resource recycling and reuse, and; the balance and management of waste treatment capacity. The RECA will integrate upstream, midstream and downstream sectors of industry, and develop its two key pillars of, firstly, a well-functioning circular network and secondly, innovative technologies and systems, in order to facilitate resource circulation.

The Resource Circulation Administration comprises the Comprehensive Planning Division, the Sustainable Consumption and Recycling Division, the Reuse Promotion Division, the Circular Processing Division and the Fund Management Board. The Comprehensive Planning Division reviews and promotes overall resource circulation policies and plans; it also builds and utilizes the cloud database on resource circulation. The Sustainable Consumption and Recycling Division promotes green designs, the reduction of single-use products and the establishment of sustainable and circular business models such as circular procurement. The Reuse Promotion Division centrally coordinates the management mechanisms for reuse of resources, in order to help arterial industries use recycled materials instead of virgin materials. The Circular Processing Division is dedicated to handling all kinds of resource circulation work based on the characteristics of the four major resources--namely bio-resources, organic chemical resources, chemical resources and inorganic recycled aggregate resources--and comprehensively review and analyze waste resources, develop technologies for energy recovery and build matchmaking channels. The Fund Management Board is responsible for auditing and certification for subsidization, auditing and monitoring of progress, and legal enforcement.

According to RECA Director Lai, in order to focus on the overall strategy of Resource Circulation and Zero Waste and achieve all government targets, the Resource Circulation Administration has launched the development of the Resource Circulation Promotion Act, which will comprise five separate phases: the reduction of waste generation, reuse of waste (without changing the properties of waste), recycling of waste (changing the properties of waste), energy recovery (e.g., solid recovered fuel) and proper disposal. The RECA will work in line with the aforementioned three major circulation strategies and two key facilitation pillars, and will aim to use statutory amendments to transform the concept of waste management in order to enhance resource recycling and establish solid and comprehensive management mechanisms. It aims to announce a notice of the draft of the Act by the end of this year; in the interim, it will run public hearing sessions and gather opinions from various industries so that a consensus can be reached and negative impacts minimized.

The Resource Circulation Administration is committed to maximizing resource circulation and minimizing waste treatment. It aims to make use of the regulatory system to build a favorable environment for resource circulation, minimize the use of virgin materials, and build a sustainable and circular society so that precious natural resources can last for generations and Taiwan can move as one toward building a sustainable environment which prioritizes resource circulation.

 Key Policy Framework of Resource Circulation
Key Policy Framework of Resource Circulation

Organization Chart of the Resource Circulation Administration
Organization Chart of the Resource Circulation Administration

Ministry of Environment Officially Established and Plaque Unveiled, in a move toward a Circular and Sustainable Future
Ministry of Environment