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Industry, Government and Academia Share Ideas at the Forum on Resource Circulation Transition

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On 30 June 2023, the EPA held a forum on resource circulation titled “Transforming Resources, Advancing towards Sustainability." The forum was presided over by former director and honorary professor at National Cheng Kung University, Chang Juu-en. In the forum, EPA Minister Tzi-Chin Chang engaged in dialogues with various enterprises while the Director of the Office of Resource Circulation, Lai Ying-Ying, presented the future vision, goals, strategies, and key projects of the Resource Circulation Administration. Leading companies from six major sectors also shared their experiences on how they transform waste into resources to promote resource circulation. They also exchanged and interacted with others on innovative ideas and directions for promoting resource circulation.

To enhance the understanding of enterprises and the public regarding resource circulation policies and promotion directions, and to foster exchanges that encourage enterprises to adopt resource circulation practices and transform their resource utilization methods, the EPA organized the forum on resource circulation titled “Transforming Resources, Advancing towards Sustainability."

Director Lai Ying-Ying pointed out that in order to promote "zero waste through resource circulation," the Resource Circulation Administration has initiated the formulation of the Resource Circulation Promotion Act (資源循環促進法). Through legislative changes, the government aims to transform the concept of waste management, enhance resource recycling, and improve overall waste management. The waste management will involve five stages: waste reduction, reuse (without changing forms), recycling (changing forms), energy recovery (such as solid recovered fuel), and proper disposal. These stages are accompanied by five major promotion strategies: green design for waste reduction at source, resource reutilization through recycling, establishing smooth circulation networks, innovation in technology and systems, and value-added treatment of waste.

"We should not be freeloaders on the environment, and we must not burden our descendants with debt," said Mr. Ker-Fu Lu, Vice General Manager of Taiwan Cement. He shared "Cement Industry Resource Recycling -A Case Study of Taiwan Cement" and emphasized the company's goal to become a participant in the circular economy and a contributor to urban cleanliness. Taiwan Cement aims to achieve this through three core business areas: low-carbon cement and new constructionmaterials, waste management, and sustainable development of new energy.

Ms. She-pin Hung, General Manager of Fwusow Industry, presented "Establishing and Operating a Circular Agricultural System." She said the company has a mission to "provide the publicwith safe and healthy food," and is committed to realizing the vision of "developing a green enterprise."

"The business model of resource circulation is the industrial value of the circular economy," said Mr. Hui-ching Yeh, Head of the Carbontech & Management Group at YFY Inc. He shared the "Resource Circulation Business Model." He presented how the company created a resource circulation and high-value circular economy industry chain based on agricultural, paper, energy, water, and carbon flows. By promoting effective resource circulation, the company is pioneering a high-value circular economy and YFY Inc.’s comprehensive circular system, achieving sustainable production.

Mr. Lai Huai-ren, Senior Division Manager at UMC, shared "Waste Reduction and Resource Circulation in the Semiconductor Industry." Through measures such as process technology improvement and raw material reduction at the source, they are striving towards achieving the goal of zero waste. He also suggested that the government could leveragebig data and AI technology to proactively recommend potential matches or collaborations, forming “the large leads the small” partnerships or industry chains to accelerate the pace of resource circulation.

Mr. Xie Ji-Ye, Chairman of Feng Yu United Engineering, shared "Construction Circulation and Low-carbon Transformation." He emphasized the use of the 5R approach (Reduce, Reuse, Recycle, Recover, and Remanufacture) to plan for circular construction and consider the entire lifecycle of buildings to achieve zero waste in construction. The company focuses on energy-efficient and precise structural design in buildings, the repeated use of temporary facilities and system templates to minimize waste, and the development of durable, recyclable, and renewable building materials to achieve waste reduction, resource minimization, and carbon reduction goals.

EPA Minister Tzi-Chin Chang expressed gratitude to the leading companies for their introduction of key practices and achievements in resource circulation and for their sharing of valuable experiences and suggestions with the participants. He emphasized that among the 12 strategies for achieving net-zero emissions by 2050, "Zero Waste through Resource Circulation" is a crucial one. The goal is to maximize the utilization of resources and minimize waste, treating all reusable materials as resources that should be recycled or reused.

Minister Chang stated that if recycled products cannot compete with raw materials, there is a possibility of them being discarded. In suchcases, the government must intervene by implementing regulations, providing incentives, or offering technological guidance to facilitate their integration into the recycling loop. During the transition towards resource circulation, enacting specialized laws is a critical step, and establishing a dedicated Resource Circulation Administration under the Ministry of Environment would provide a greater driving force to realize these efforts.

Excerpt from Major Environmental Policies, June 2023

Ministry of Environment