Taiwan to expand plastic bag ban to more types of shops from Jan 1, 2018

TAIPEI (THE CHINA POST/ASIA NEWS NETWORK) - From Jan 1, 2018, customers of bubble tea shops will not be getting a plastic bag for their beverage.

The government said last week that beverage shops, bookstores, pharmacies and four other types of businesses will no longer hand out plastic bags with every purchase, starting from New Year's Day.

The policy is expected to save at least 15 million plastic bags, the government said.

The Environmental Protection Administration has been promoting the prudent use of plastic shopping bags since 2002.

Restrictions have already been placed on plastic bag distribution in private schools, government organisations, department stores, retail stores, supermarkets, convenience stores and fastfood restaurants, helping them cut back on 20 million bags each year, the environmental authority said.

From Jan 1, the restrictions will be extended to drugstores, medical equipment stores, bookstores, electronic devices stores, bookstores, laundries, and bakeries, with an expected result of 15 million fewer bags a year.

In addition, the government will regulate the use of microplastics used to make cleansers and body wash, in order to reduce their harm to the ocean.