Taipei, Taiwan's Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) kicked off its plastic free initiative on Monday to mark Earth Day, by promoting successful efforts around the island to reduce the use of plastic.
Lai Ying-ying director-general of the EPA's Department of Waste Management, announced the initiative at a press conference, which was attended by representatives of enterprises that have already reduced the use of plastic and will work to promote the new program.
According to Lai, the initiative will work to encourage broader acceptance of "plastic-free eating," by encouraging restaurants to serve customers food and drink using eco-friendly cutlery and tableware, as well as providing dish washing facilities for those who bring their own cutlery and tableware.
Participating restaurants could also provide discounts for those who bring their own knives, forks, plates, bowls etc., she said.
Another key focus is the ongoing program to reduce the use of plastic shopping bags, including the introduction of shopping bag rental services.
In addition, Lai said a number of beverage shops already allow customers to rent beverage containers from one store and return them at another.
Song Yi-chen a Tainan-based industrial design graduate who came up with the beverage container rental plan, also attended the press conference.
According to Song, about 30 beverage shops in Tainan have adopted her plan and she is hopeful it will eventually be embraced by most beverage shops in the city.
Although customers who wish to rent a container do not need to pay a deposit, they still have to give the shop their phone number, Song said.
The plan, implemented in January 2017, has reduced the sector's plastic footprint by 34,000 plastic cups, she said.
Also at the conference, Ning-xia Business District Director Lin Ding-guo said many vendors at Ningxia Night Market in Taipei welcome the EPA's plastic free initiative, and already provide eco-friendly tableware and have dish washing areas.
Lin said he is now urging night market beverage vendors to reduce the use of plastic straws.
Source: Focus Taiwan News Channel