Taiwan has taken a major step towards making oceans cleaner and preserving marine life species. The country’s government Environmental Protection Administration (EPA) said the nation is set to be eradicated of wasteful single-use plastics by 2030.
Next year marks the first step in phasing out these disposable materials. All food and beverage stores, including fast-food chains, will be required to cease the distribution of plastic straws for instore use. The following year, in 2020, all food and beverage outlets will ban free plastic straws. By 2025, customers will pay a surcharge for takeaway plastic straws, before 2030’s complete ban is enforced.
Additionally, retail stores who issue uniform invoices will need to be aware that all disposable utensils, containers and free plastic shopping bags will become illegal in 2020. Alike plastic straws, surcharges for these will become mandatory in 2025. Further, in 2030 a complete blanket ban will outlaw everything, from plastic bags to disposable cutlery to beverage cups, says Minister Lee Ying-yuan.
Ying-yuan gave advice for consumers feeling the need for these items. “You can use steel products, or edible straws – or maybe you just don’t need to use straws at all. There is no inconvenience caused at all.” In fact, many Earth-conscious consumers are opting to bring their own reusable straws, made of long-lasting materials such as metal or glass when eating out anyway. These products are only a new concept but are becoming increasingly prevalent – trendy, even.
Ying-yuan adds that it’s not just environmental agencies that are responsible for reducing plastic – it’s also down to the public, who make an active choice with every purchase. A drive for sustainability “will create a better environment for future generations,” he stated.
An Ocean Campaigner at Greenpeace East Asia, Yen Ning said she hopes single-use chopsticks and paper utensils will also be implemented in the waste-reducing ban. While chopsticks aren’t often made of plastic, the damage that these commodities are doing on the environment is also very intense. Huffington Post said the demand for single-use chopsticks is destroying China’s forests.
Taiwan isn’t the only country pioneering their way to less plastic in our oceans. Recently it was reported that England is set to ban plastic straws in all restaurants across the country. The Queen of England herself banned plastic straws and bottles from royal estates, after working closely with Sir David Attenborough on a documentary that discussed conservation in the Commonwealth.
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