Sun, May 01, 2011 - Page 2 News List

EPA introduces own-cup policy

SAVING THE PLANET:The policy will reduce the use of single-use cups by up to -30% a year, or 450 million cups, which would save 110,000 trees, the EPA said

By Mo Yan-chih  /  Staff Reporter

Starting today, people who bring their own cups when purchasing beverages will be eligible for a variety of discounts, as a new policy from the Environmental Protection Administration (EPA) requires fast food chains, convenience stores and beverage shops to offer discounts in a bid to reduce the use of disposable cups.

Under the policy, stores that have more than two outlets are required to provide discounts or other incentives to encourage customers to use their own cups when buying beverages. Stores that do not comply will be liable to a fine of between NT$60,000 and NT$300,000.

In Taipei, a total of 2,151 stores offer discounts or free top-ups to customers who use their own cups, according to Taipei City’s Department of Environmental Protection.

Su Fang-hui (蘇芳慧), a division chief at the department, said the 2,151 stores represent 47 brands, with 7-11, FamilyMart, Starbucks, McDonald’s and Mos Burger all participating in the program. The department would also target smaller stores and night markets, she said.

“Reducing the use of disposable cups is a small step, but it will raise public awareness of environmental protection. Bringing your own cup is something that everyone can do and we hope more people take part in the campaign,” she said.

Many of the stores started providing discounts more than a year ago, she said. Starbucks, for example, offers customers a NT$10 discount if they bring their own cup. 85oC, on the other hand, offers a NT$3 discount.

McDonald’s gives points to customers who use their own cups or reusable containers and customers who collect five points get a small drink for free.

Su said that when customers bring two empty cups to any of these outlets, they should receive NT$1 as a reward.

According to the administration, 12,000 stores from 41 chains have already joined the campaign since it started promoting the plan about a year ago.

Statistics from the department showed that chain stores nationwide consume about 1.5 billion single-use cups a year.

The policy is expected to reduce the use of single-use cups by 30 percent a year, or 450 million cups, which would save 110,000 trees and reduce carbon emissions by 15,000 tonnes, according to the EPA.

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