The hospitality industry would be required to limit the use of disposable toiletry items, the Environmental Protection Administration (EPA) said yesterday as it announced a draft bill expected to be implemented on July 1.
In the first phase, hoteliers would be asked not to provide disposable items such as toothbrushes, razors, and travel-sized bottles of shampoo and body wash in rooms, instead requiring guests to request such items.
The second phase would require that the items not be provided for free, requiring guests to purchase them if needed.
Photo: Wu Po-hsuan, Taipei Times
The draft is to implement stipulations of Article 21 of the Waste Disposal Act (廢棄物清理法), the EPA said.
The article states that “for those articles or the packaging and containers thereof for which there is concern of serious pollution to the environment, the central competent authority may officially announce the prohibition of use or the restriction of manufacturing, import, sales and use.”
The draft lists lotions, gels and other liquid products in containers of up to 180ml; personal hygiene products including combs, toothbrushes, razors and shower caps; and disposable slippers as items to be restricted.
The date for implementation of the second phase would be announced later, it said, adding that hoteliers should discount room rates by 5 percent in that phase to offset the lack of provided toiletries, and provide a list of prices in rooms.
The EPA said it aimed to reduce plastic waste following a global trend, illustrated by a pledge during the UN Environment Assembly in Nairobi in February and March last year.
At the assembly, which excluded Taiwan, 154 countries vowed to formulate by next year a legally binding agreement on plastic reduction, with the aim to significantly reduce single-use plastic products by 2030.
Since 2020, the UN Environment Programme has been pushing an initiative to reduce tourism-related plastic, as tourism activities are the cause of a large amount of plastic and other waste that ends up in oceans, the EPA said, adding that it hoped Taiwan would participate.
The public can view the bill online and provide feedback for the next 60 days, it said.
“We hope people can cultivate the habit of bringing their own toiletries with them when they travel and reuse containers whenever possible,” the EPA said.
Taiwan Tourist Hotel Association executive director Su Shen-tung (蘇神童) said that not providing toiletry items to guests would result in disputes with some guests who are used to getting them for free.
Also, most guests would simply pay for the items to avoid inconvenience, meaning that the policy would not have much effect on environmental problems, Su said.
“If the items are charged at 5 percent of the room rate, that means NT$50 for every NT$1,000 charged for the room. If the items are sold at cost, that would only be about NT$3 for a disposable razor,” he said.
“People are likely to pay that just to avoid the trouble of bringing items with them,” he added.
Tourism Bureau Director Huang Yi-cheng (黃易成) said that the gradual reduction of the use of hotel supplies is a global trend, which Taiwan would inevitably follow.
The new policy would be promoted to inform travelers, Huang said.
Additional reporting by Ting Yi
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