The Executive Yuan's Department of Consumer Protection (hereinafter referred to as the DCP) and the Consumers' Foundation (hereinafter referred to as the CF) jointly held a press conference on "Tackling Plastic Pollution" on World Consumer Rights Day, March 15, 2021, to call on coffee vendors to support this event and provide more discounts so as to encourage consumers to live a plastic-free and green life, thereby protecting the Earth.
Plastic is ubiquitous in daily life. However, disposable plastic products not only impact the environment, but also people's health. Consumers International (abbreviated as CI) announced that the theme for World Consumer Rights Day on March 15, 2021, is "Tackling Plastic Pollution". This is an event that encourages people devoted to consumer protection worldwide to promote sustainable consumption. The CI quoted the findings from a survey conducted in Europe, the U.S, and South America, which stated that 72% of all consumers would carry reusable bags when they go shopping; moreover, 74% of consumers are willing to spend more money on green packaging. The finding shows that consumers worldwide are highly aware of plastic reduction, but they need to put their thoughts into action.
Lifestyles in Taiwan are changing, and the Taiwanese have developed a habit of buying their coffee to go, in order to savor it slowly. However, the inside of the paper cup and on the sealing films have a thin layer of laminated plastic, which has led to paper cups being categorized as non-recyclable. It is estimated by environmental protection groups that approximately 2 billion paper cups are used annually in Taiwan. Due to the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020, the demand for food delivery and take out services has been sharply increasing. Therefore, the DCP and the CF made a concerted effort to call on coffee chain stores, convenience stores, super markets and other coffee-selling companies to encourage more consumers to bring their own beverage containers by providing discounts for coffee, thus protecting our Earth.
The DCP indicated that the Environmental Protection Administration (EPA) of the Executive Yuan has been promoting a plastic reduction policy since as early as 2002. Since 2011, fast food chains stores, convenience stores, and beverage shops have been required to provide discounts for consumers who bring their own containers. Currently, 90% of beverage chains provide cash discounts of up to NT$10 per cup. The DCP indicated that consumers should make purchases intelligently when sellers provide such benefits. Living a plastic-free life is not that difficult. Just think twice for the Earth before going out or buying anything. Only when most people choose not to generate plastic waste can our environment be free from plastic pollution. It could be a little inconvenient and could incur some small additional costs (such as purchasing or renting eco-friendly cups) at the beginning of living a green and plastic-free life, but this is how we genuinely show our love for Taiwan.