Styrofoam manufacturers on Friday said they were against a proposed ban on Styrofoam cups by the Environmental Protection Administration (EPA) that is expected to take effect next year.
Speaking to lawmakers serving on the legislature’s Economics Committee who on Friday visited the Dafa Industrial Park (大發工業區) in Kaohsiung, Telung Polylong Co (大隆保麗龍公司) chairman Chuang I-luang (莊義隆) said that Styrofoam has long been stigmatized in Taiwan, while it has been widely accepted in other countries, such as the US.
“There is a modernized and well-established system for recycling and reusing Styrofoam and the industry would, under the guidance of the Industrial Development Bureau, form a Styrofoam recycling association to comply with environmental policies,” he said.
The lawmakers visited the park to consult with Styrofoam manufacturers on Styrofoam cup policies.
The EPA announced the proposed ban in January and drafted measures restricting the use of expanded foam plastic to manufacture drink containers such as cups, of which more than 200 million are used per year, but only about 20 percent are recycled.
“The company is one of only three manufacturers in the world that produce food-grade Styrofoam,” Chuang said, adding that the public perception that Styrofoam is a main contributor to environmental hazards is an outdated idea.
The latest technologies developed to recycle and reuse Styrofoam are environmentally friendly and Styrofoam cups are commonly used as coffee containers in countries like the US, he said, reiterating that the industry is willing to establish a Styrofoam recycling association to join forces with the government to deal with the issue.
The meeting between lawmakers and manufacturers reached several conclusions: Room for development must be allowed for the Styrofoam industry; materials that meet food container standards can be used as such; the EPA would not prohibit the use of such materials; and there must be a comprehensive recycling system, the ministry said.
Also, standards for industrial recycling have to be applied to the recycling of food-grade Styrofoam and the EPA should draw up a thorough Styrofoam recycling program.
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