Taiwan EPA sets timeline for ban on plastic straws

Taiwan EPA will start to ban the use of plastic straws by food and beverage businesses starting in 2019

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Woman drinking out of a straw at McDonald's. (By Central News Agency)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) -- Taiwan's government is planning on banning the use of single-use plastic drinking straws in different stages, the first of which will be with the food and beverage industry next year, said Environmental Protection Administration (EPA) Minister Lee Ying-yuan (李應元) at a press conference yesterday (Feb. 13), reported Apple Daily

Starting in 2019, large food and beverage vendors such as convenience stores, plastic straws and plastic bags will be banned from use inside. Beginning in 2020, all stores that issue uniform invoices will be banned from offering free plastic shopping bags, disposable food containers and disposable utensils. 

It is estimated that by 2030, a complete ban will be put in place on all plastic bags, disposable utensils, plastic shopping bags, and disposable beverage cups.

In an effort to try to deal with the massive marine waste crisis, the EPA has worked with a number of environmental groups to set up the "Sea Waste Management Platform" and yesterday announced a plan of action, which includes a four sources of plastics to be phased out in three stages: 2020, 2025 and 2030. 

Plastic straws are the first item to be targeted for restrictions and bans by the EPA. Starting in 2019, food and beverage stores will be restricted from providing plastic straws for in-store use. In 2020, free plastic straws will be banned from all food and beverage establishments. 

Starting in 2025, even plastic straws for carryout will be banned and customers will need to pay a fee to use them. In 2030, the goal is to have a complete blanket ban on the use of plastic straws at all establishments in Taiwan.

As for plastic shopping bag phase, the EPA will implement a ban on all stores that issue uniform invoices in 2020. In 2025, prices on plastic shopping bags will be raised, and by 2030 such bags are to be completely banned. 

Starting in 2020, food and beverage businesses will not be allowed to provide customers inside their establishments with disposable utensils. In 2025, the a price system will be implemented on disposable tableware, and by 2030 a complete ban will be imposed on disposable utensils. 

In 2020, plastic beverage cups will be restricted and by 2025 users will have to pay an extra fee to use them. By 2030 take-away beverage cups will be completely banned. 

Lee said that the future prices for such disposable plastic items in stores will not necessarily be based on the price of such items in Europe. Instead, it will be based on domestic prices in Taiwan, but Lee emphasized that the reduction of the use of plastics is not just the job of the EPA, but it is everyone's responsibility to create a better environment for future generations.