The EPA has announced that manufacturing, importing, and selling polyvinylchloride (PVC) food containers will be limited from 1 July 2023. Targeted items include flat packaging, containers announced as recyclables, and non-flat disposable tableware. Such limits aim to reduce the harmful risks that PVCs pose to the environment and human health.
The phasing out of food packaging containing PVCs has become a global trend, with countries such as South Korea and New Zealand having gradually announced measures to phase out this type of packaging. Stabilizers added to PVC-containing products pose potential threats to human health. Also, PVCs are susceptible to corrosion by oil, which can easily cause leakage of plasticizers into food and lead to exposure to environmental hormones and carcinogenic risks from PVCs. Finally, the burning of discarded PVCs releases dioxins and heavy metals. A small percentage of these enter the air via incinerator chimneys, while the rest stay in incinerator fly ash and bottom ash, also potentially causing environmental contamination.
To reduce pollution caused by PVC-containing products at source, the EPA has formulated relevant controls based on the Waste Disposal Act (廢棄物清理法) Article 21. From 1 July 2023, prohibitions will be effective on the manufacture, import, and sale of PVC-containing products including flat packaging, containers announced as recyclables, and non-flat disposal tableware containing a number of food items. These items include food products, animal food products, animal feed, dairy products, seasonings, vinegar, salt, edible oils, beverages, packaged drinking water, alcohols, medicinal alcohols, and solutions for oral internal use that contain amino acids or multiple kinds of vitamins. However, products manufactured or imported before the effective date are not subject to the ban. Currently, all enterprises have alternative containers made from other materials.
Excerpt from Major Environmental Policies, May 2022
- Ministry of Environment