Lessons Learned - Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR) in Taiwan
Excerpts from Cafeteria Culture interview with Dr. Chun-hsu Li
On February 17, 2021, Cafeteria Culture conducted an interview with Dr. Chun-hsu Lin (林俊旭) to learn about the success and challenges of the Taiwanese EPR system. Through the following knowledge gained, we have included recommendations in part B, below amendments to the NY Senate Bill 1185-A, “An Act to Amend the Environmental Conservation Law in Relation to Establishing the Extended Producer Responsibility Act.”
A. INTERVIEW HIGHLIGHTS: Chun-hsu Lin Ph.D. (林俊旭) (LinkedIn), Research Fellow / Deputy Director, Center for Green Economy, Chung-Hua Institution for Economic Research, (CIER)
75 Changhsing St, Taipei, Taiwan 106. Link to the complete Q&A with Dr. Chun-hsu Lin
THREE KEY TAKEAWAYS
1) Currently, all fees are managed by the Environmental Protection Administration (EPA) of Taiwan. Before the government took over the collection and management of fees in the operating EPR system, Producer Responsibility Organizations (PRO) managed these operations.
Dr. Lin: Prior to the introduction of EPR, waste management/recycling was purely driven by market needs, very inefficient. EPR before 1997 was carried out by PROs but the government fully took it over after 1997 because of frauds in earlier operation.
Since 1998, producers have been under strict auditing by the governmental agency, RFMB [Recycling Fund Management Board].
In the case of under-reporting their sales, the producers will be fined or sued by Taiwan EPA. Even until now, there are still a few producers charged by Taiwan EPA for not submitting enough recycling fees.
2) The current EPR system is successful in terms of high collection rates and recycling rates(1). There are, however, challenges with this government operated system.
Dr. Lin: Auditing on producers and recyclers is somehow costly. The secondary materials from the recycling process need good valuation status incorporating environmental benefits.
In this system, producers and recyclers are not connected. Therefore innovating the package design is not the producer’s interest.
3) Taiwan EPR includes an education mandate.
What kind of outreach and education did the government do to ensure effective behavioral change?
Dr. Lin: Taiwan is a strong supporter of environmental education (EE) and one of the few countries in the world that has adopted a legislative act. Under the act, the environmental education curriculum is incorporated into basic education curriculum. In addition to school systems, public servants are required to take 4 hours of EE classes a year, even the president of Taiwan. Through EE, the importance of recycling is taught to everyone. Quite a few recycling promotion events are also provided or finally supported by the RFMB from time to time.
B. Cafeteria Culture strongly recommends that Senate Bill 1185-A refrain from assigning sole responsibility for the management and governance of the EPR system to industry-represented PROs and that the legislature solicit public input to improve the reduction, recovery, and content of plastic materials.
C: Related links:
About Cafeteria Culture ->
1 “Today Taiwan boasts a world-beating recycling rate of 55 percent and daily waste disposal has dropped drastically from 1.14kg per person in 1998 to under 0.4kg per person by 2015. The island generates half as much waste per person as the US.” https://www.rapidtransition.org/stories/taiwans-transition-from-garbage-island-to-recycling-leader/