Sat, Jun 09, 2018 - Page 1 News List

EPA launches guidelines for ban on plastic straws

EXCEPTIONS:The agency said that it would exclude biodegradable straws and those made of compound materials with less than 10 percent plastic content

By Lin Chia-nan  /  Staff reporter

Divers who volunteered to clean marine waste pose in the sea off the northeast coast at Longdong Ocean Park in New Taipei City’s Gongliao District yesterday.

Photo courtesy of the Northeast and Yilan Coast National Scenic Area Administration

The Environmental Protection Administration (EPA) yesterday launched draft guidelines for a ban on single-use plastic straws, which is expected to affect nearly 8,000 restaurants when it goes into effect in July next year.

Coinciding with World Oceans Day, the agency said the ban aims to reduce pollution from plastic straws, which are not biodegradable and are often found on local beaches.

The theme for this year’s World Oceans Day — which the UN General Assembly officially recognized in 2008 and is celebrated on June 8 each year — is preventing plastic pollution and encouraging solutions for a healthy ocean.

From July next year, restaurants in government agencies, public and private schools, public hospitals, department stores and shopping malls, as well as fast food chains, would be banned from providing single-use plastic straws to customers dining in, the agency said.

However, the ban would exclude EPA-certified biodegradable plastic straws and straws made of compound materials with a plastic content of less than 10 percent, it said.

Products that have plastic straws attached during production would also be excluded from the ban, the agency said.

After the ban goes into effect, the agency would inspect the affected establishments, EPA Department of Waste Management Director-General Lai Ying-ying (賴瑩瑩) said.

Restaurant owners would be given a warning for a first infraction, while two or more breaches of the regulations would result in a fine of between NT$1,200 and NT$6,000, in line with Article 51 of the Waste Disposal Act (廢棄物清理法), she said.

From July 1, 2021, no further warnings would be issued for a first infraction and restaurant owners are to receive fines for breaches of the regulations, she added.

The ban on single-use straws is to initially target consumers dining at restaurants, Lai said, adding that a ban on take-out plastic straws could be introduced by 2025 at the latest.

However, the agency has no plans to regulate plastic straws provided by food vendors at night markets, as this is its first such ban and it hopes to address larger-scale restaurants first, she said.

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