The Environmental Protection Administration (EPA) yesterday announced a NT$170 million (US$5.68 million) subsidy for recycling companies and individuals, and reported a rise in the use of paper containers due an increase in online shopping and take-out meals amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
The subsidy is to be sourced from existing funds, the EPA said.
EPA Recycling Fund Management Board executive secretary Yen Hsu-ming (顏旭明) told a news conference in Taipei that the agency would boost the recycling subsidy rates for plastics to between 11 percent and 21 percent due to plummeting crude oil prices as lockdown measures affected global travel.
The categories to receive the largest adjustments are polypropylene and polyethylene, with NT$93.3 million added to subsidy funds over six months, Yen said.
EPA statistics show that paper container use in March increased by 50 percent from the same month last year, mainly due to online purchases and take-out meals as people practiced social distancing, he said.
Recycling habits mean that most of the paper waste disposed of in homes is incinerated, the EPA said, adding that it is working with local bureaus to negotiate collaborations between recycling workers and stores that sell boxed meals to collect waste, which would help recycling personnel maintain a more stable income, Yen said.
Statistics show that there are 604 recycling companies with 7,000 employees and 12,380 individuals in the recycling business, he said.
Paper containers could previously be turned in for NT$1.2 per kilogram, but that has been boosted to NT$18 per kilogram, the Chinese-language United Daily News reported Yen as saying.
The changes would encourage workers to help gather the 12 categories of waste that are less economical for recycling workers, which include paper and plastics, he said.
The EPA estimates that 12,380 entities or individuals would benefit from the increased subsidies, Yen said.
The program, which began on Friday last week and runs through June 30 next year, would boost subsidies for recycling workers to NT$5,000 per month from NT$3,500 per month, he said.
People should clean paper containers, and sort and stack them to facilitate easy recycling, Yen said.
The more effort people put into complying with recycling regulations, the easier workers can process used containers, he said.
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