Thu, Sep 17, 2015 - Page 5 News List

Consumers encouraged to make eco-friendly choices

By Chen Wei-han  /  Staff reporter

The Environmental Protection Administration (EPA) and the Consumer Protection Committee have jointly published a handbook on how to make environmentally conscious decisions, in an effort to encourage sustainable consumer behavior.

The EPA said that constructively changing consumers’ behavior is increasingly at the center of sustainable business and environmental protection, and the handbook is designed to raise consumers’ environmental awareness.

The 12-chapter book instructs readers on how to make environmentally responsible and safe decisions, such as opting for eco-hotels and avoiding disposable items, as well as how to discern toxic chemicals in clothing and utensils.

The EPA said it has launched a program to promote eco-friendly hotels which follow green living practices, such as providing non-disposable amenity items and encouraging the reuse of towels and sheets, adding that Taiwanese consume 35 million pieces of disposable hotel supplies every year.

It has also encouraged tourists to travel with non-disposable personal items instead of relying on the disposable amenities that are provided by most hotels.

The book instructs readers about potentially harmful chemicals and materials in clothes, such as nonylphenol, fluorescent agents, formaldehyde, chemical dyes, plasticizers and heavy metals.

It has suggested that consumers avoid brightly colored clothing and clothes with a pungent odor to prevent exposure to fluorescents, while a counterfeit banknote detection pen could be used to pick out clothing with fluorescent agents, the EPA said, adding that consumers should purchase locally made clothing with eco-labels.

In the wake of food scares, the EPA said the book also introduces harmful chemicals in plastic containers, such as plasticizers and bisphenol A, which could be released when a container is heated, while expounding on the acceptable daily intake of common food additives.

The book also encourages consumers to develop an environmental mindset by understanding what a product is made of and how it is made, refusing to buy overly packaged goods, avoiding unnecessary purchases, opting for reusable and repairable products and rethinking their own behavior.

The committee said that consumers should look for environmental labels on products, transportation and hotels to take advantage of government- approved products and services.

The EPA said environmental protection is an obligation for all consumers and that they could practice a sustainable lifestyle by following the standards set out in the book.

A digital version of the book is downloadable from the EPA’s Web site.

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