To avoid the impact of biodegradable plastics on the existing recycling system in Taiwan and to further reduce the usage of disposable tableware, the EPA announced the Targets and Implementation Methods for Restriction of Disposable Tableware on 29 June 2023. Starting from 1 August 2023, eight categories of entities are prohibited from providing disposable tableware made from biodegradable plastics.
Since July 2002, it has been mandated that eight categories of regulated entities, including public institutions (government departments, public schools, and public medical institutions), private schools, department stores, shopping centers, wholesale stores, supermarkets, chain convenience stores, chain fast-food restaurants, and food and beverage businesses with physical storefronts, are not allowed to provide plastic disposable tableware. Starting from 1 August 2023, the scope of regulation for these eight categories of entities has been expanded to include a comprehensive ban on providing biodegradable plastic-made cups, bowls, plates, dishes, food containers, and inner trays in food containers for disposable tableware.
After referring to the policy frameworks proposed by the European Union on 30 November 2022 regarding bio-based, biodegradable, and compostable plastics, the EPA pointed out that biodegradable plastics are only recommended for specific purposes where reduction, reuse, and recycling are not feasible. In recent years, many businesses have used biodegradable plastics as an alternative material after plastic restrictions. However, these plastics require specific environmental conditions to decompose rapidly, and there are no suitable recycling or composting facilities in Taiwan. This situation affects the existing recycling system and gives rise to related environmental issues. To solve these issues and to further reduce the usage of disposable tableware, this announcement adjusted the regulations to include biodegradable plastic disposable tableware as prohibited items. The announcement is also expected to lead to more progress in promoting waste reduction at source in Taiwan.
Excerpt from Major Environmental Policies, June 2023
- Ministry of Environment