The manufacturing, importation and sale of food packaged with polyvinylchloride (PVC) is to be banned in Taiwan starting in July next year, the Environmental Protection Administration (EPA) announced on Friday.
Although the use of PVC has been declining, some dairy products are still sold in PVC containers, EPA Recycling Fund Management Board executive director Wang Yueh-bin (王嶽斌) said.
PVC packaging can release plasticizers when used to store liquids, and the substance can lead to cancer when consumed over time, Wang said.
The material sometimes contains stabilizers that can also harm people’s health, he added.
When burned, PVC containers can release dioxins and heavy metals. Incinerators use filters to catch these materials, although contaminated ashes can leach into the ground and pollute the environment, Wang said.
Bans on PVC packaging have been implemented in many countries, he said, citing South Korea and New Zealand as examples. Canada, Spain and some US cities have also introduced PVC packaging bans.
With this measure, Taiwan can expect to eliminate about 79 tonnes of PVC food packaging every year, Wang said.
The ban is to be enforced under Article 21 of the Waste Disposal Act (廢棄物處理法), which says that the government can prohibit or restrict the manufacturing, import or sale of items that are found to harm the environment, the EPA said.
When the ban takes effect, people who sell foods with PVC packaging could face fines ranging from NT$1,200 to NT $6,000, while those manufacturing or importing such items could be subject to a fine ranging from NT$60,000 to NT$300,000.
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