Taiwan is set to ban single-use plastic drinking straws in several phases, starting with the food and beverage industry next year. The Environmental Protection Administration announced the plan last Tuesday.

As of next year, food and beverage stores such as fast food chains must stop providing plastic straws for in-store use. From 2020, free plastic straws will be banned from all food and beverage outlets. From 2025, the public will have to pay for takeaway plastic straws, and a blanket ban is to be imposed in 2030.

plastic litter rubbish waste trash
File photo: GovHK.

Free plastic shopping bags, disposable food containers and disposable utensils will also be banned in 2020 from all retail stores that issue uniform invoices – widely used in Taiwan. Additional fees will also be imposed in 2025.

Minister Lee Ying-yuan said a blanket ban is set to be introduced in 2030 on all plastic bags, disposable utensils, and disposable beverage cups.

Lee Ying-yuan
Lee Ying-yuan . Photo: Environmental Protection Administration.

“You can use steel products, or edible straws – or maybe you just don’t need to use straws at all,” he said. “There is no inconvenience caused at all.”

Lee said that the future prices for such disposable plastic items in stores will not necessarily be based on the price of such items in Europe, but will be based on prices in Taiwan.

steel straw
Steel straws and cleaning tool. Photo: qc-tw.com.

He added that the reduction in the use of plastic is the responsibility of all members of the public rather than just his agency. The drive will create a better environment for future generations, he said.

Yen Ning, Ocean Campaigner at Greenpeace East Asia, said she hoped bans on paper utensils and single-use chopsticks could be implemented in stages in the future.

Scotland is set to ban plastic straws by end of 2019, according to The Independent.

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Kris Cheng is a Hong Kong journalist with an interest in local politics. His work has been featured in Washington Post, Public Radio International, Hong Kong Economic Times and others. He has a BSSc in Sociology from the Chinese University of Hong Kong. Kris is HKFP's Editorial Director.