Taiwan expands restrictions on single-use cutlery

Eco-conscious country taking range of measures to address plastic pollution

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Food court (CNA photo)

Food court (CNA photo)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) – Taiwan will impose tougher restrictions on the use of single-use cutlery at department stores, shopping malls, and retailers, announced the Environmental Protection Administration (EPA) on Thursday (Aug. 8).

Eat-in consumers will no longer be provided with disposable tableware at the approximately 330 stores across the island to be affected by the measure, reported the Central News Agency. Local governments will determine the exact date to implement the measure, the EPA added.

The disposable items to be banned include forks, knives, spoons, chopsticks, cups, bowls, plates, food boxes, and stirs, said CNA. Violators will be subject to a fine of between NT$1,200 and NT$6,000 in compliance with the Waste Disposal Act.

The environmental authorities also called on businesses in the country’s dining industry to follow suit by offering customers reusable cutlery. The policy is in line with the global trend of plastic reduction, which has seen the European Union pledge to prohibit the use of plastic plates and cutlery by 2021 and given rise to G20 Osaka Blue Ocean Vision initiative to reduce marine plastic litter to zero by 2050.

The Taiwanese government has endeavored to address the issue of plastic pollution with a series of policy tools. The island moved to ban single-use plastic straws in June of 2018, targeting the public sector, schools, department stores, and fast food chains. The regulations went into effect July 1 this year and are expected to slash the number of plastic straws by 100 million a year.