Taipei ban on disposable tableware at department stores starts Jan. 1

Measure estimated to reduce number of disposable items by 20 million a year, more cities expected to follow suit

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(Taipei City Government photo)

(Taipei City Government photo)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — A total of 55 department stores and shopping malls in Taipei are banned from providing one-time use tableware for customers starting Wednesday (Jan. 1).

The measure is expected to cut out the use of 20 million disposable items annually. Violators will be subject to a fine of between NT$1,200 (US$40) and NT$6,000, in compliance with the Waste Disposal Act.

The policy will also take effect in New Taipei, Penghu, Yilan, Hualien, Taoyuan, Taichung, and Tainan. Kaohsiung, Hsinchu, and Keelung are expected to follow suit later this year, said CNA.

Taipei took the lead in implementing a similar ban in 2016, forbidding government institutions and schools from using disposable and melamine resin utensils. As of the end of 2019, 178 companies, 29 universities, 36 markets, and 13 night markets had joined the cause, according to the city’s Department of Environmental Protection.

The United Nations estimated a staggering 8 million tons of plastic are dumped into the ocean every year. In 2019, leaders at the G20 summit agreed on the “Osaka Blue Ocean Vision” that aims to reduce marine plastic litter to zero by 2050.