Taiwan is ready to take a giant step forward in the battle against single-use plastics by banning them starting in 2030. Once the ban is in place, things such as plastic grocery bags, disposable beverage cups, takeout food containers, and plastic straws will all be unavailable.
A change this large will take time to prepare to ensure the process is a seamless transition. Taiwan’s Environmental Protection Administration has laid out a plan to ensure they are able to be free of single-use plastics by 2030. Starting next year, chain restaurants will stop providing straws for in-store use. By 2020, all dining establishments will no longer be able to give out plastic straws.
Continuing the transition, free shopping bags, disposable food containers, and disposable utensils will also be banned in 2020 from all retail stores that issue invoices.
These bans will lead to the outright ban in 2030. The hope is that by that point, the people of Taiwan will be accustomed to not being able to rely on single-use plastics anymore.
In a statement from Taiwan’s environmental minister Lee Ying-Yuan, she echoed that there are always alternatives to single use plastic. “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.”
The ban is very welcome news. There have been other countries or cities that have started banning items like plastic straws, but a ban on all single-use plastic will be setting a precedent for other countries to follow.
Plastics are absolutely devastating to our planet, particularly the oceans and animals that live in it. Previous studies have found that micro plastics, which are formed by the break down of plastic by the force of the ocean, are causing coral reefs to be much more susceptible to disease and death. As well, due to how much plastic is in our ocean, 73 percent of fish in the ocean have been found to have plastic in their digestive system.
Taiwan’s ability to make a change on a national level is astonishing. Other places around the world may not be able to make a change on that scale but there is still something you can do. Cities, towns, and villages all have the power to inflict the same amount of change. Reach out to your city council or representatives-starting a conversation is the first step in making a change you wish to see.