‘Flush used toilet paper’ policy to take effect in June

The EPA urged the public to start changing their habit of depositing used toilet paper in trash cans at home.

The policy of flushing used toilet paper will soon take effect, with accompanying measures to be enforced in June. (By Central News Agency)

Have you encountered the repulsive scene of used toilet paper overflowing in a pubic toilet in Taiwan? The scene is expected to be no more after June as the country's Environmental Protection Administration (EPA) announced at a press conference Tuesday that the policy of flushing used toilet paper will soon take effect, with accompanying measures set to be enforced in June.

The EPA urged the public to start changing their habit of depositing used toilet paper in trash cans at home. The EPA said it had sent official documents regarding the enforcement of the new policy to government agencies across the country to ask for their cooperation.    

During a hearing at the Legislature's Social Welfare and Environmental Hygiene Committee at the end of last year, EPA head Lee Ying-yuan (李應元) said that his agency will come up with a campaign to encourage the flushing of toilet paper in three months. His remarks have since garnered much support from the public. 

The Ministry of Transportation and Communications, Taiwan High Speed Rail, Taipei Metro and the tourism sector attended Tuesday’s press conference under the invitation of the EPA to express their support of the policy.

Lee cited an ex Paris mayor by saying that everybody in a civilized city has to hold sanitation in high regard. In the past, people were asked to throw used toilet paper into a trash can because it was commonly believed that used toilet paper would clog the toilet, Lee said. However, experiment results show that paper degrades in water, so now it’s hoped that everybody can throw the paper into the toilet and flush it, he added.  

Yuen Foong Yu Consumer Products Co Taiwan general manger Hsu Chih-hung (徐志宏) said that his company's toilet paper is always tested for dissolubility before shipping, and the suggestion that customers throw the paper into the toilet is clearly printed on the package. The company will also communicate with its partners to change all the paper products in vending machines at public toilets across Taiwan into dissolvable paper.

The EPA said that besides the worry about paper clogging the toilet, people in Taiwan also have the question regarding whether toilet paper will disintegrate in the septic tank or not. The EPA further explained that toilet paper will not clog the toilet because it will break after being flushed; and therefore it will disintegrate in the septic tank, too. However, the EPA advised against replacing toilet paper with facial tissue or wet wipe and throwing them directly in the toilet as they contain moisture retaining ingredients that make paper not easy to break.  

Beginning in June, all public toilets managed by government agencies will begin to provide dissolvable paper, including paper in the vending machines, and all the large-sized trash bins will be replaced by small-sized ones with a cover, the EPA said. There will be signs with a unified logo that promulgates “flushing used toilet paper” for display at the toilets, the EPA added.