Taiwan’s recycling achievements a boost for circular economy

  • Date: 2018-07-31
  • Source: Department of Information Services, Executive Yuan

Premier Lai Ching-te touted Taiwan’s world-leading recycling efforts during opening remarks at the 20th anniversary exhibition of the Environmental Protection Administration’s Resource Recycling Fund on Tuesday, saying Taiwan’s recycling rate of 52.51 percent (4.13 million metric tons recycled) in 2017 fell behind only Germany and Austria. He thanked people from all sectors of Taiwan society for their hard work.

The exhibition showcases 20 years of Taiwan’s progress and achievements in environmental protection, which may be grouped into several periods, the premier said. During the first period, the free-market era, families collected bottles and cans for sale back to stores. The second period spanned from 1988 to 1997 and was one of entrepreneurial autonomy; the first item to be recycled by the recycling alliance established at the time were plastic bottles. This year, a Taiwanese method of recycling PET bottles into textiles was used to produce uniforms for nearly half of the 32 finalist teams at the 2018 FIFA World Cup. Taiwan’s PET bottle recycling rate now reaches as high as 95 percent.

What follows now is the era of the resource regeneration and recycling fund, and has become a thriving period for recycling, Premier Lai continued. The nation’s recycling endeavors have also entered the global era, with countries sending PET bottles to Taiwan for processing and Taiwan exporting its technologies and experiences abroad.

In terms of consumption, the people of Taiwan have embraced green consumption and are phasing out single-use or disposable containers and products. Central and local governments are also promoting green procurement policies, devoting approximately NT$9 billion (US$294 million) each year to procuring products bearing green certification labels. In resource regeneration, the Executive Yuan has been advocating the use of waste products for public construction purposes, such as reusing incinerator bottom ash in construction material.