Fri, Aug 09, 2019 - Page 1 News List

EPA initiates single-use tableware ban in malls

By Jake Chung  /  Staff writer, with CNA

Restaurants at department stores, malls and hypermarkets are to be banned from offering single-use tableware to dine-in customers, with local governments to decide when the rules go into effect, the Environmental Protection Administration (EPA) said yesterday.

The EPA in 2006 started limiting the use of single-use tableware at government agencies and school campuses.

Disposable tableware refers to cups, bowls, plates, dishes, lunch boxes, chopsticks, spoons, forks and stirring sticks made of various materials, the agency said.

Nearly 330 businesses, including 150 hypermarkets and 180 department stores, as well as shopping centers, would be affected by the policy, it said.

Local governments’ plans would need to be approved by the EPA before they go into effect, Waste Management Department Director-General Lai Ying-ying (賴瑩瑩) said.

While some business representatives have said that it would be difficult to implement the policy, Lai said that the amendment aims to grant local governments sufficient time to ensure that cleaning equipment is provided, environmental concerns are addressed, and health and welfare regulations are observed.

It is likely that similar changes would be announced by the central government if more people could accept them, she added.

Establishments that contravene the regulations would be fined NT$1,200 to NT$6,000 under Item 3, Article 41, of the Waste Disposal Act (廢棄物清理法) and would be given time to make improvements, the EPA said, adding that should they fail to pass another inspection, they could be fined on a daily basis.

Chain convenience stores and fast-food restaurants, as well as food samples or food packaged with disposable utensils in department stores or hypermarkets would be exempt from the regulation, the agency said.

Areas that have a chronic water shortage or an influenza outbreak, or companies with constant mechanical failures, could apply to the agency for an exemption, it added.

The amendment had been considered before, but was put aside after the 2006 ban on disposable tableware in government organizations and schools, the agency said.

As local governments now have experience in enforcing similar laws, the agency said it felt it was time to expand the scope.

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