TAIPEI (Taiwan News) -- From the beginning of 2018, plastic shopping bags will be forbidden from being sold at hypermarkets, supermarkets, and convenience stores.
At a news conference on Friday, Lu Shih-chang (盧世昌), the deputy commissioner of Taipei's Department of Environmental Protection, urged the three types of stores to not provide plastic bags for free or even to keep them available for sale. However, these chain stores will have the right to sell 'dual purpose bags' such that can be used as both shopping bag as well as a trash bag.
There are three sizes that will be made available for the dual bags, a 3-liter bag will cost NT$1, a 6-liter bag will cost NT$2, and a 14-liter bag will cost NT$5. The residents of Taipei City will also be allowed to dispose of garbage using these bags when the garbage truck comes around.
This change has been adopted as a result of a United Nations forecast which Lu reiterated during his speech at the conference. According to the UN forecast, if correct measures are not adopted in time in regards to plastic consumption, there could be more plastic floating in the oceans than fish and all this by the year 2050.
Taiwan alone uses 18 billion plastic bags a year, which is an average of 782 bags per person.
The city government is aiming at reducing the use of plastic bags and therefore the current rule that requires residents to buy a specific type of garbage bags for throwing their garbage will be nullified and the new dual plastics will be brought to use.
The ban also comes in addition to a bigger ban on free plastic bags at 14 types of businesses which is also set to take effect from January 1.
The 14 types of businesses are government agencies, private schools, department stores, hypermarkets, supermarkets, convenience stores, fast food restaurants, pharmacies, medical equipment stores, book and stationery stores, laundries, beverage stores, bakeries, and computer, consumer electronics and communications product retailers.
A fine of between NT$1,200 (US$39) and NT$6,000 (US$200) will be issued upon failure to abide by the rule after being given the first warning.