Beginning next month, household waste will be refused by garbage trucks if it is not first separated into three categories: recyclable, food leftovers and general household waste. The new policy was announced by the Environmental Protection Administration (EPA) last week.
Environmental officials said that random checks of people's garbage bags will be carried out during the first months after the implementation, and residents violating the rules will be advised and encouraged to do classification on the spot. Officials said materials made of plastic, aluminum, glass and metals will have to be recycled. In other words, people have to recycle common materials such as plastic bottles, paper, clothes, tires, furniture, batteries, lamps, balls, film negatives, raincoats, wooden toys and compact discs.
According to the EPA, affected jurisdictions include Keelung City, Taipei City, Hsinchu City, Taichung City, Taichung County, Chiayi City, Tainan City, Kaohsiung City, Kao-hsiung County and Ilan County. Beginning April 1, violators will be fined between NT$1,200 and NT$6,000.
The new measures will be applied nationwide in 2006. According to EPA Administrator Chang Juu-en (
"Unwanted articles can be recycled as long as they are put in appropriate categories," Chang said.
According to the EPA, in 2001, Taiwanese produced 18,000 tonnes of household waste. Taking 2001 as the baseline year, Chang said the implementation of the new measure will reduce the amount of household waste by 25 percent in 2007, 40 percent in 2011, and 75 percent in 2020.
In addition, taking Taichung City as an example, Chang said the city first carried out a compulsory measure demanding household waste separation in 1999. The city's recycling rate has increased to 24.46 percent early this year from 8.86 percent in 1999.
Chang said that the new policy will also lead to financial profit for the government. Currently, the government pays contracted recyclers NT$1,000 for each tonne of recyclable waste.
Chang estimates that the government would benefit from selling reusable articles collected from residents to manufacturers which recycle such waste.
"We estimate that the government will make a NT$4.86 billion profit annually because of the implementation of the new policy. 30 percent of the profit will be used to reward local environmental bureaus for the waste collection and the remaining 70 percent will be used for carrying out other environmental measures," Chang said.
Chang stressed that similar waste separation policies has been adopted in other advanced countries. A recent survey done by the EPA shows that 80 percent of interviewees support the new policy.