Plastic Bag Ban – Taipei’s Clean Revolution

Taiwan’s Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) has announced a new round of policies, including a plastic bag ban, aimed at restricting free shopping bags which took effect starting January 1, 2018.

Is this the beginning of a Clean Revolution?

With this latest announcement, could Taipei be finally getting serious about its fight against pollution and waste? Actually, the DEP has been promoting reusable shopping bags since 2013 but this was voluntary and not at all effective. This new regulation, however, is legally binding and repeat offenders could be fined up to NT$6,000.

What do you need to know?

The following types of stores are now banned from providing free plastic bags:

  • Supermarkets
  • Convenience Stores (Including 7 Eleven)
  • Retailers
  • Pharmacies
  • Skincare Stores
  • Medical Supply Stores
  • Camera Stores
  • ICT Equipment Retailers
  • Bookstores
  • Stationery Stores Laundry Shops
  • Tea Shops
  • Bakeries

That’s It?

Not quite. “Special” bags are still allowed to be sold. These “special” bags are designed for dual-purpose. There are three sizes that will be made available for the dual bags, a 3-litre bag will cost NT$1 (US$0.03), a 6-litre bag will cost NT$2, and a 14-litre bag will cost NT$5. Residents of Taipei City will be allowed to dispose of garbage using these bags when the garbage truck comes around.

Unfortunately, the ban doesn’t include market stalls or street vendors, which is a huge part of the problem.

Even so, it is estimated that more than 80,000 stores will be impacted by these changes.

The Impact

Plastic bag bans around the world, when implemented successfully, have been nothing short of remarkable. Countries such as England, Wales, Italy and Portugal reported decreases in plastic bag usage in excess of 80% in the first year alone. Citizens of Denmark, which has had a free plastic bag ban in place since 1994, now uses less than 4 bags per person, per year!

Every year we manufacture and throw away a staggering 500,000,000,000 single-use plastic bags a year. That’s 500 billion or 16,000 every second!

Just think, if we reduce this by 80% we could save millions of tonnes of plastic waste and much more besides.

Under The Sea

Credit: Ryan Hevern TAO
  • Every year 6.4 million tons of plastic is dumped into the ocean.
  • An estimated 5.25 trillion pieces of plastic floating in the oceans.
  • At least 100,000 marine creatures die every year from entanglement.
  • More than 1,000,000 birds die every year too.
  • Once plastic breaks down, it is ingested by marine life. Humans then eat the marine life along with the plastic.

What’s Next?

This is a great response from the Taipei government but it is up to us to help make the impact even bigger.

Be sure to tell your friends and family about the plastic bag ban. Make sure storekeepers who are still giving away bags for free, know that it is now illegal.

And please remember to take your own bag so that you don’t have to buy a plastic bag.

Plastic bag flying through the air


Below is a comprehensive list of plastic bag bans and taxes. Is your Country on this list? If not, what are you doing about it?

Who Has Banned the Bag? Source: Wiki
  • Antigua and Barbuda
  • Australia – 4 out of 8 States have ban in place with 2 more due in 2018 (Only NSW and VIC have no plans – Assholes)
  • Bangladesh (2002) – Banned since devastating floods in 2002 caused by bags blocking drains.
  • Belgium (2007)
  • Bhutan
  • Bolivia – Partial bans
  • Cameroon (2014)
  • Chad
  • Chile – Partial bans
  • China (2008) – Estimated saving of >1 million tons oil)
  • Eritrea (2005)
  • Ethiopia
  • France (2017) – All produce bags banned
  • Guinea-Bissau (2016)
  • Haiti
  • Italy (2011) – Banned all non-biodegradable bags
  • India (2002) – Partially implemented
  • Kenya (2017) – Fines of up to USD38,000 for repeat offenders
  • Mali
  • Mauritania (2013)
  • Mexico (2010) – Fines anyone handing out plastic bags
  • Moldova (2017) – Total ban in place by 2020
  • Morocco (2016) – Previously the 2nd largest consumer of bags in the world
  • Nepal – Poorly enforced
  • The Netherlands (2016)
  • Niger
  • Pakistan – Poorly enforced
  • Papua New Guinea (2016)
  • Rwanda (2008) – Created a new market for sustainable paper bags which is providing much-needed income for locals
  • Senegal (2015)
  • Somalia (2005)
  • Tanzania (2006)
  • Tunisia (2017) – Limited to supermarkets
  • USA – (2017) – More than 20 states and 132 Cities ban plastic bags
Who Has taxed The Bag?
  • Argentina (2016) –
  • Bulgaria
  • Colombia (2017) – Increasing tax
  • The Czech Republic
  • Denmark (1994) – Reduction of >66% now an average of 4 bags per person per year!
  • England (2017)
  • Finland
  • Greece (2018) – About to start
  • Ireland (2002) – Reduction of >90%
  • Germany (2016) – Averaging 90 bags per person per year
  • Hong Kong (2015) – Reduction of >80%
  • Indonesia (2016) – 23 Cities
  • Isreal (2017) – Reduction of >80%
  • Luxembourg
  • Malaysia (2009)
  • Myanmar (2009)
  • Northern Ireland (2013)  – Recuction>72%
  • Portugal – Reduction of >90%
  • Romania (2006)
  • Scotland (2011) – Reduction of 80%
  • Serbia
  • South Africa (2004)
  • Sweden
  • Taiwan (2018) – Banned lightweight bags but poorly enforced. 2018 sees a new effort to tax all plastic bags that are not already banned in Taipei.
  • Turkey (2018) – National levy due
  • Uganda (2007) – But not regulated
  • Switzerland (2016) – Voluntary only
  • Wales (2011) – Reduction of 96%
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