Reduce the use of disposable plastic straws

According to the EPA announcement of the Executive Yuan, in order to reduce the use of disposable plastic straws, the EPA issued the "Restrictions on the Use of disposable Plastic Straws and Implementation Methods", stipulating that government departments, schools, department stores, and For four types of objects such as shopping malls and chain fast-food stores, in-house catering shall not provide  plastic straws. The Environmental Protection Agency estimates that after the implementation of this announcement, the use of plastic straws can be reduced by about 100 million per year.

The EPA mentioned that in the Fourth United Nations Environment Assembly, a total of 170 participating countries pledged to reduce the use of plastic products by 2030. Today, plastic reduction has become an unstoppable international trend.

The policy of reducing the use of plastic bags is successful, and plastic straws are the biggest problem today

Since Bangladesh became the first country in the world to ban plastic bags during the South Asian tsunami in 2002 due to the blockage of plastic bags in the drainage system, the Taiwan government has ordered the implementation of restrictions on plastic bags. Although it suffered a backlash from the industry at the beginning, the people have also accepted this environmental protection concept over the long term and gradually developed the habit of carrying environmentally friendly shopping bags.

What is exciting is that the Wilderness Conservation Association has conducted statistics on the types and quantities of marine waste since 2004, and found that 2018 was the year with the least plastic bags. Plastic bags accounted for 5.7% of the total, compared with the highest peak of 27.5 in 2008. % Reduced by 21.8%. However, for every 10,000 pieces of marine waste, there are 570 plastic bags and 1,300 straws, which is the marine ecological killer second only to PET bottles and bottle caps.

In 2018, the Taiwanese government set the plastic reduction goals to be achieved in 2030: banned use in 2020, limited use in 2025, and banned straws, beverage cups, shopping bags, disposable tableware, etc. in 2030. Kind of disposable plastic products.

Plastic reduction trend is booming! Global response

Looking at the international plastic reduction policies, Africa is the most active region for plastic reduction. 60% of countries have completely banned plastic bags. Kenya has even imposed heavy penalties. Anyone or shop that makes, carries and uses plastic bags, The maximum fine is about NT$1 million, and even sentenced to imprisonment.

Following Bangladesh, in Asian countries, India plans to ban plastics completely in 2022, and South Korea started to ban hand-crank cups in August 2018. Japan, which produces the second highest amount of plastic waste per capita, has adopted a gradual policy under the pressure of the host country of the G20 in 2019 to subsidize companies that research environmentally friendly alternative materials, and discuss with retailers the feasibility of charging for plastic bags. The goal is to reduce plastics by 25% by 2030.

Oceania is also very active. New Zealand, Papua New Guinea and other places have taken the lead in banning plastic bags. In Central and South America, Chile has banned plastic bags, and Costa Rica plans to lead the world in 2021 and become the first country to ban all disposable plastic products on a large scale.

In contrast, the first world countries are slightly conservative. For example, in the United States, which produces the most plastic waste per capita, only California is more active and promotes the ban on plastics; New York City banned take-out styrofoam lunch boxes in 2015 but received a strong rebound.

In Europe, the UK will completely ban plastic straws, stirring rods and cotton swabs in April 2020. Except for patients with medical needs, which can be obtained separately from registered pharmacies or restaurants after instructions, all venues are not allowed to actively provide plastic straws and other items.

According to statistics from the British government, about 80% of the respondents support the ban on plastic straws, 90% of the respondents support the ban on stirring rods, and 89% of the respondents support the ban on cotton swabs.

In 2018, British Prime Minister May further called on leaders from all parts of the Great Britain Association to jointly respond to the ban on single-use plastic products. She said: "These products are only used for a few minutes before being discarded, but it takes 100 years to be decomposed, eventually causing marine pollution and destroying the environment. This is the most serious problem in the world today. No effort was spared to lead the change.
The European Union announced that it is expected to completely ban disposable plastic products in Europe from 2021. The banned items include straws, dinner plates, cutlery and cotton swab shafts

Enterprise groups respond and join the ranks of plastic reduction

McDonald's in the United Kingdom began using paper straws in September 2018, and consumers have also given positive feedback and responses. McDonald's expects to expand this policy to branches around the world in 2019. And McDonald's in Taiwan has also gradually implemented "direct cold drink" in April this year. So far, nearly 400 McDonald's in Taiwan have fully implemented it.

Other fast food companies in Taiwan have also implemented plastic reduction plans. For example, KFC started to encourage consumers to open the film to drink directly on June 11; Moss Burger and Dingguagua plan to use internal cups on July 1st. And the lid on the mouth.

Companies that have already eliminated plastic straws include: Starbucks, Grand Hyatt Hotel, American Airlines, Alaska Airlines, Four Seasons Hotel Group, Hilton Hotel, Iceland Superstore, etc. have all joined the ranks of plastic reduction.

Looking at the world, Taiwan’s environmental protection policy is active, the industry’s attitudes are relatively positive, and the public’s willingness to cooperate is high. There have been considerable results in reducing the use of plastic bags in the past. Although there are still many areas to be reviewed and improved, such as whether the new environmentally friendly materials can actually reduce the use of plastics? How can we strengthen the concept of environmental protection in areas where traditional markets and vendors are not included in plastic restrictions? It is hoped that in the future, with policy promotion and public awareness of environmental protection, more and more people will join the ranks of plastic reduction, so that the environment we live in will be more sustainable.



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