Sun, Apr 01, 2007 - Page 4 News List

EPA starts bag recycling drive

By Shelley Shan  /  STAFF REPORTER

Starting today, townships in 25 counties and cities around the nation will launch a massive campaign to recycle used plastic bags, the Environmental Protection Administration (EPA) said this week.

The EPA has begun recycling the used plastic bags in townships in 14 counties and cities since May last year. While the operation was still in the trial phase, the high recycling rate has far exceeded the administration's estimates.

Between May and December last year, a total of 2,317 tonnes of used plastic bags have been recycled.

The number equals 710 million bags, with each weighing 200g.

The administration originally estimated that only 900m tonnes of used plastic bags would be recycled through the effort. The expanded operation is expected to further raise the rate of recycling to 5,000 tonnes this year.

Currently, the policy has been implemented in the Keelung, Taipei, Hsinchu, Taichung, Chiayi, Tainan, Kaohsiung cities and Taoyuan, Taichung, Chiayi, Ilan, Hualian, Kaohsiung, Yunlin and Penghu counties.

Counties and cities starting the new practice include the Miaoli County, Hsinchu County, Nantou County and others.

The administration has divided the recyclable used plastic bags into two categories: clean ones and contaminated ones. They must be separated and can be handed directly to collectors.

The measurement came following the administration's decision last year to allow restaurants to provide plastic bags to consumers when they order takeout.

The rationale is that plastic bags carrying food often become contaminated, thereby becoming less valuable when recycled.

Meanwhile, the administration announced this week that hypermarkets and supermarkets must reduce the use of plastic plates and packaging for eggs, pastry and raw food by July.

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