Tue, May 02, 2006 - Page 2 News List

EPA implements plastic bag recycling nationwide

STAFF WRITER

The Environmental Protection Administration's (EPA) latest move to reduce waste by encouraging the recycling of plastic bags nationwide got off to a shaky start yesterday.

The latest EPA initiative has some members of the public complaining that the government's frequent policy changes are quite confusing.

A woman surnamed Chen of Fengyuan in Taichung County complained that the government kept on changing its policy, with the authorities restricting the use of plastic bags one minute only to ask them to recycle them the next.

In Taichung County, only clean plastic bags were to be accepted for recycling in most areas. However, many housewives, not sure what the policy meant, used clean plastic bags to wrap up their garbage.

The Kaohsiung City Environmental Protection Department advised people to put aside unused plastic bags just as they did with other items meant for recycling and hand them in to garbage collectors.

The department said it had already provided information about the policy on at least 10 occasions prior to the policy change, and had collected 350,000 plastic bags for recycling since then.

According to Chuang Pei-hsuan (莊佩璇), a department official, the collected plastic bags are sold to processing plants where they are then converted to polyvinylchloride resin or petrochemical products.

Local environmental bureaus, expecting some confusion at the start of the policy's implementation, said it expected the initial volume collected to be quite low.

While the latest recycling policy may be new to many, residents in Ilan County's Lotung Township (羅東) has been recycling plastic bags since last year. Seeing its success in implementing the policy, EPA officials asked officials from Lotung Township Office to submit a report on the logistics of recycling plastic bags before implementing the policy nationwide.

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