Pacific Sogo Department Stores Co yesterday became the nation’s first department store chain to ban disposable utensils and cutlery made of potentially carcinogenic melamine resin.
Taipei Mayor Ko Wen-je (柯文哲) at a news conference in Taipei thanked Pacific Sogo and Far Eastern Group chairman Douglas Hsu (徐旭東) for demonstrating corporate responsibility.
The ban is to be placed on 153 food companies operating at all eight Sogo branches nationwide, Ko said, expressing the hope that Sogo’s move would inspire other private companies to follow suit.
The Taipei City Government in April last year banned the use of disposable and melamine utensils at its agencies, and in August last year banned them at the schools it oversees, Ko said.
Citing Taipei Department of Environment Protection statistics, Ko said that local government agencies have cut the use of paper tableware by about 80 percent and the use of plastic utensils by 67 percent since the policy came into effect.
This signals a change in people’s habits, the mayor said, adding that city used burn disposable tableware and cutlery at incinerators, producing particulates, dioxins and other toxins that could cause lung cancer.
Ko said that his vision is to make Taipei a “livable and sustainable” city — a goal that can be attained by adopting environmentally friendly practices and promoting “green” energy.
He said that the Taipei Market Administration Office will draw up a plan to encourage food stalls at night markets to use reusable utensils and cutlery — for example by providing them with dishwashers, cutlery and tableware — while continuing to promote the policy in the private sector.