In 2019, the European Union announced "(Directive EU 2019/904 on the reduction of the impact of certain plastic products on the environment)", a series of policies to solve the most common single-use plastic pollution problem on European beaches. The alternatives propose various measures such as different market circulation controls, volume reductions, design and labeling specifications, and extended producer responsibility systems.
For single-use plastic products that have alternatives on the market, market access control will be implemented in July 2021. If there are no widely available alternatives, for the time being, it is required to actively reduce the amount. Therefore, starting from July 2021, the EU market will completely ban disposable plastic products including tableware, dinner plates, straws, cotton swabs, beverage stir sticks, balloon rods, styrofoam food containers, beverage containers, and beverage cups. This specification applies to all single-use plastic products, including traditional plastic, bio-based, bio-degradable or compostable plastic, and other single-use plastic products, and covers single-use products with composite materials such as plastic inner films, from July 2021. It will be banned from circulation in the EU market from January onwards.
As reusable alternatives to disposable plastic paper products have become popular in Europe, the EU requires member states to actively promote reusable product options rather than simply making disposable products from other materials. The EU requires member states to take measures for food containers and drink cups to achieve positive reduction targets before 2026. Countries can take appropriate measures according to their national conditions, or a combination of measures can be more effective to achieve the reduction goals, such as:
Flanders in Belgium passed a decree in 2019 banning local governments from serving beverages in disposable cups, cans, and PET bottles in workplaces and public events. The ban applies to non-city-sponsored events, such as school parties, local community fairs, and festivals. Single-use products should not be used unless the organizer can ensure a separate collection and recycling rate of at least 90%.
The introduction of the plastic bag tax in 2002 reduced usage by 90%. The tax also has a positive impact on the environment: In 2001 plastic bags accounted for about 5% of waste pollution, while in 2015 it fell to 0.13%. Over 12 years, the plastic bag tax has generated 200 million euros and invested in environmental projects carried out by the Environmental Foundation.
France belongs to the front glass of the EU in terms of plastic restriction policy and has formulated positive plastic restriction goals.
France has encouraged consumers to buy recycled products and signed the Ocean Plastics Charter, pledging to be 100% reusable, and recyclable, or in the absence of viable alternatives, to increase the proportion of recycled plastics by 2030. In 2019, France cooperated with large retailers and other enterprises to reduce the use of single-use plastics by reducing the plastic packaging of goods, replacing materials that are difficult to recycle, and increasing the sales model without packaging.
France adopted the French Law on the Circular Economy in 2020, adopting most of the contents of the EU single-use plastics directive as domestic policy. And even adopted additional measures, such as banning plastic confetti, beverage cup lids, and fruit and vegetable packaging.
To end the 180,000 tons of single-use plastics produced by the catering industry in France every year, the French government has set a goal and schedule to limit plastics:
Germany officially passed the EU's single-use plastic directive in 2020. From 2021, consumers will not see a variety of single-use plastic products restricted by the EU on the market, including single-use plastic tableware, dinner plates, stirring sticks, cotton swabs, take-away drink cups, and various food containers made of styrofoam.
However, long before the EU ban, Germany adopted policies to limit the use of single-use plastics. Since 1991, Germany has legislated to require retail stores that provide plastic bags to pay a tax or levy. Retail stores are charged for each bag of goods. A fee of 5 to 10 euros to reduce the use of plastic bags. Munich banned the use of disposable beverage and food containers for large-scale events in 1999, such as large-scale events such as various markets, beer festivals, marathons, etc., and small events, the municipal government cooperates with manufacturers to provide dishes and dishwasher leases. However, other countries such as Austria, France, and Italy have already announced a nationwide ban. Germany is one of the countries with the most complete development of the deposit leasing system. The deposit leasing of beverage containers is popular in Germany. In many markets, it has become a habit to spend more money to buy drinks and rent cups. Directly influencing and changing consumers' shopping thinking from the supply side, eliminating the waste problem caused by disposable products, is worthy of reference in Taiwan's promotion of the policy of reducing disposable beverage cups.
The regulations of each state in the United States are different. According to different continents, the plastic restriction orders of four continents have been sorted out:
Hawaii and Honolulu:
A new single-use plastic ban will be implemented. The first phase will start on January 1, 2021. Food suppliers and vendors, including restaurants, bars, food trucks, catering, and grocery stores, will be prohibited from providing shopping plastic bags and throwing them away. Type utensils with a 90-day educational buffer period, non-petroleum-based utensils may not be provided upon request. The second phase starts on January, 2022, and all suppliers and stalls will be prohibited from providing single-use plastic and styrofoam containers such as plates, bowls, polystyrene containers, etc.
The governor of the state signed the most stringent plastic restriction order in the United States, intending to ban Styrofoam fillers commonly used in transportation packaging in 2038. Fully restrict the use of plastic beverage bottles in 2044, and stipulate the use of plastic containers, glass containers, paper bags, and plastic bags. Recycling requirements include the inclusion of a certain percentage of recycled content. In May 2022, stores and restaurants with an area of 2,500 square feet or more will be banned from providing plastic bags, paper bags, and Styrofoam or polystyrene foam, becoming the first state in the United States to restrict the use of plastic and paper bags in stores. Plastic straws will not be offered voluntarily from November 2021.
Plastic bags for shopping will be banned from January 2021. The ban includes large stores larger than 7,000 square meters, and small stores with more than three branches, each of at least 3,000 square meters, but excluding restaurants, stores will instead provide reusable bags or paper bags, previously about 434 plastic shopping bags per resident.
Due to the impact of the epidemic, the ban on plastic bags will be extended until July 2021, and the fine will be replaced by a warning by April 2022. The ban will apply to all stores in the city, including supermarkets, convenience stores, department stores, restaurants, food trucks, farmers' market collection, delivery, and other industries.
The Canadian government has announced that it will ban several single-use plastics nationwide by the end of 2021, including shopping plastic bags, cutlery, straws, stirring sticks, six-pack rings, and hard-to-recycle food containers.
Since July 2019, New Zealand has completely banned shops and businesses from selling single-use plastic bags. Including biodegradable, compostable, oxidatively degradable plastic, and other single-use shopping bags. Consumers must use or buy reusable plastic bags and used shopping bags. The New Zealand government announced in August 2020 that it will ban plastic products and packaging that are difficult to recycle, as well as ban up to seven disposable plastic products. Including plastic straws, stirring rods, various types of tableware containers, and plastic linings that are difficult to recycle. In addition to the replacement of recyclable materials, such as beverage cups, product stickers, etc., it will actively promote the replacement of reusable product containers.
China's plastic pollution problem is serious. In addition to being a big country in the production and use of disposable plastics, China was once the world's plastic waste recycling site. Since banning the import of plastic waste from various countries in 2018, forcing countries to start looking for other plastic waste disposal or formulating source reduction methods, China is expected to ban various single-use plastic products between 2020 and 2025.
As early as the end of 2020, the national catering industry will ban disposable plastic straws, large cities will ban disposable plastic bags, and disposable plastic tableware will be banned in catering. By the end of 2025, the ban will be gradually expanded to areas outside the city, and the use of takeaway disposable tableware will be reduced by 30%. Plastic packaging for online shopping and disposable items for the hotel industry is prohibited.
Since the release of China's plastic restriction order, many large enterprises have changed to replace disposable plastic with product improvement or other materials. The policy should also promote the development of recyclable packaging and logistics distribution systems such as lunch boxes on e-commerce and delivery platforms. However, The use of alternative materials for single-use plastics has not been regulated, gradually prompting many companies to switch to the production or use of alternative materials such as biodegradable plastics. However, there are still many problems in the recycling and composting of such materials, and no sound solution has been developed yet. A complete mechanism, if used in large quantities, may cause another environmental problem, and it does not reduce the resource abuse problem of disposable products from the source.
South Korea's policy of reducing and limiting the use of disposable beverage cups is worthy of reference. South Korea's Ministry of Environment announced a long-term plan to reduce plastic waste by 50% by 2030. In the same year, it cooperated with 21 of South Korea's largest coffee and fast food chains, promising to change disposable beverage cups to more environmentally friendly materials, and Offering a 10% discount for consumers who bring their cups to encourage the reuse of cups. It is expected to reduce waste by 20% by 2027, including banning single-use drink cups and plastic straws. Subsequently, in 2019, it was announced that bakeries, department stores, discount stores, large shopping centers, and supermarkets were prohibited from providing shopping bags. About 13,000 supermarkets are required to provide reusable or recyclable cloth or paper bags for consumption. Small stores and traditional markets can Continue to offer single-use plastic bags, but charge consumers.
The drink cup ban has led to a 72% drop in usage in a year, but some stores have only replaced them with disposable paper cups, others have switched to reusable cups, and plastic bottles, lids, and straws are not banned. In July 2019, it was announced that all government departments must ban disposable beverage cups. In 2020, plastic bottles must be changed to colorless and transparent to facilitate recycling, and plastic straws must be included in the products that should be recycled. The subsequent expansion announced that from 2021, reusable beverage cups must be fully used in cafes and fast food restaurants, disposable beverage cups will not be provided free of charge for takeaways, and a recovery gold mechanism will be introduced at 35%.
The plastic problem in Thailand is serious, so the government actively advocates reducing plastics to the public and formulates various plans to limit plastics.
In 2018, the Thai government officially launched the policy of restricting the use of plastic bags, prohibiting the use of styrofoam or plastic bags in national parks, and 154 national parks across the country prohibit disposable plastic products. Such as plastic bags, straws, styrofoam, plastic cups, bowls, and plates from entering the park. In 2019, Thailand announced the ban on three types of plastics, including beverage bottle caps, oxidatively decomposable plastics, and plastic soft beads. From 2020, 25,000 channels of 75 companies will no longer provide free plastic bags, plastic soft beads, and other three types of plastics. In 2022, four types of disposable plastics, including plastic bags, styrofoam lunch boxes, plastic straws, and disposable plastic cups, will be banned.
After the first wave of restrictions on plastic bags in 2002, microplastic products were banned in 2018, and the restrictions on plastic bags were expanded. And an action plan for marine waste management was released, including gradual restrictions on straws, plastic bags, disposable tableware, and handshake cups until 2030 completely disabled schedule. Taiwan's ambitious goal of restricting four items at a time is relatively positive.
In terms of plastic reduction policy, Africa is the most progressive. More than 60% of African countries have implemented a national plastic bag ban. The strictest is Kenya. Anyone or shop owner who manufactures carries and uses plastic bags will be fined at most NT$1 million and face jail time.
Many countries in Asia have promoted measures to curb the production of plastic bags. For example, Bangladesh banned plastic bags as early as 2002, and India directly called for a complete plastic-free operation by 2022. Japan is the second largest country after the United States and produces plastic waste per capita. It has never taken any action against excessive packaging and plastic reduction in the past. Under the pressure of hosting the G20 next year and hoping to highlight the host country's emphasis on environmental protection. The Japanese Ministry of the Environment recently issued a goal of reducing plastic waste by 25% by 2030 and requires the retail industry to study the feasibility of charging for plastic bags, as well as spending budgets to subsidize companies that produce plastic alternatives. South Korea has banned the use of handshake cups in restaurants since August, and will further restrict plastic bags in the future.
Plastic bags have been banned in New Zealand, Papua New Guinea, Vanuatu, the Marshall Islands, Palau, and many provinces in Australia. In Central and South America, Chile was the first country to ban plastic bags. Costa Rica is more active, planning to become the first country in the world to ban all single-use plastic products in 2021, a year earlier than France and India planned.
Compared with an aggressive plastic reduction in Asian and African countries, in North America, most of the norms only fall at the city or state level. In 2015, New York City passed the ban on take-out styrofoam lunch boxes, but it was unexpectedly opposed by the industry. In 2017, the New York City Health Department ruled that styrofoam could not have the value of economic recovery, and then re-regulated all stores not to provide a poly floor. Dragon lunch box. In September of this year, California signed the "AB 1884" bill restricting the use of straws, and restaurants will not be allowed to offer straws from next year.
Most countries in Europe adopt a policy of charging for plastic bags. Recently, the EU Congress passed the "Plastic Strategy for the EU Circular Economy (2018-2030)". It is expected that member states in the EU will ban plastic tableware, straws, and stirring rods by 2021. , Plastic shaft cotton swabs, balloon rods, Styrofoam lunch boxes and cups, and other disposable plastic products, and the end of excessive packaging. In addition, for the bulk of the marine waste fishing gear, the EU will set up EU-level minimum acquisition and recycling targets. The United Kingdom, which has left the European Union, has called for an end to the use of plastic in 25 years and may ban plastic straws, stirring rods, and plastic shaft cotton swabs within a year at the earliest.
Daily food, clothing, housing, transportation, education, and entertainment must be reduced in plastic:
Fast food and dining leaders, including Starbucks, KFC, and McDonald's, have all announced they will phase out straws. Although Starbucks recognizes the problem of plastic pollution, it is a good direction to reduce plastic products from the company. But the baby cup that Starbucks switched to, just replacing the straw with another disposable plastic, is far from enough to reduce the huge amount of plastic waste in the world.
In terms of clothing brands, Adidas began working with Parley for the Oceans, an international marine environmental protection organization, two years ago to make jogging shoes from discarded fishing nets and marine debris. This year, Adidas announced that it will completely stop virgin plastics in retail stores, warehouses, logistics centers, etc. in 2024, and increase the proportion of recycled polyester fibers. IKEA, the world's largest furniture retailer, announced that before 2020, all stores will stop selling straws, dinner plates, garbage bags, and other disposable products, and start to develop furniture made from recycled plastic.
During the journey, sometimes due to the rush of time or the difficulty in mastering it in a foreign country, it is impossible to reduce plastics, but there are many ways to gradually overcome our dependence on disposable plastic products. A few days ago, an Evergreen flight attendant pointed out that more than 1,000 plastic cups would be used up on a long-distance flight, and people were encouraged to bring their water bottles on the plane. And Alaska Airlines, American Airlines, Marriott Hotel, Taiwan's the Far East and Grand Hyatt Hotel, etc. have stated that they will no longer provide plastic straws. There are sports venues or events that need to take the initiative to eliminate straws, and some additional water dispensers and replace single-use plastic cups with reusable cups. Even stadiums in India have a zero-waste policy. Amusement park giant Disney announced that it will reduce plastic in its theme parks and restaurants, and simultaneously reduce the use of plastic bags, which is expected to reduce 175 million straws and 13 million stirring sticks each year. Aquariums in the United States have also established the Aquarium Conservation Partnership Alliance, and 22 aquariums have joined so far. Not only are the restaurants in the aquarium completely plastic-free, but they promote environmental education and related exhibitions, and further affect surrounding schools, communities, and restaurants.
Look forward to everyone accelerating the pace of plastic reduction!