The Popularity of Hand-Shaken Drinks in Taiwan - a Double-Edged Sword to the Environment
(Summary description)Two things describe what Taiwanese always do in their daily life: have a cold drink in summer and take a warm one in winter. Of course, this fact shows the significance of the drinks market; still, it simultaneously makes the crisis of disposable plastic drink cups come to the fore.
- Time of issue:2023-01-11 11:38
Two things describe what Taiwanese always do in their daily life: have a cold drink in summer and take a warm one in winter. Of course, this fact shows the significance of the drinks market; still, it simultaneously makes the crisis of disposable plastic drink cups come to the fore.
Astonishing Consumption of Disposable Drink Cups
According to the statistics from the Taiwanese Ministry of Finance, the total revenue of the drinks market was up to NTD$ 62 billion in 2021. Besides, there are 22 thousand drink shops in Taiwan as of April 2022, with a 6% annual growth rate. The record high indicates that the stable demand for beverages from consumers continues to drive new investment, resulting in the vigorous development of the entire beverages market.
However, with such a considerable market size, the incredible consumption of single-use plastic cups causes a heavy burden on the environment! In 2011, the Environmental Protection Administration of Executive Yuan started an investigation into the usage of disposable drink cups. At the time, the result revealed that the Taiwanese discarded 1.5 billion drink cups yearly, then reached more than 4 billion after another investigation in 2021. The terrible usage growth makes the authority realize it is time to take action on the disposable cup reduction as soon as possible.
The Ban of Disposable Plastic Cups: the First Shot of Taipei City
In April 2022, the Environmental Protection Administration released an official statement to reduce the current plastic waste situation. This announcement requires the local government to submit the regulation schedule about the restriction on disposable plastic cups before 2024. After four months, Taipei City took the lead in declaring that all drink shops are forbidden to offer disposable plastic cups, including PLA, from December 2022. It is estimated that there will be a 76 million decrease in the usage of plastic cups per year by this policy. Although the affected enterprises are facing the pressure of rising costs according to the policy, they are willing to cooperate and make their contribution to the mitigation of plastic pollution.
In the meantime, other incentives for consumers also come with the regulation. For example, from July 1st, 2022, all the chain beverage shops, supermarkets, and convenience stores have to offer NTD$ 5 discounts for customers who take their containers for drinks. Furthermore, the "Reusable Cups Renting Service" also be provided for people to cultivate the habit of using recyclable containers.
Ideal and Reality
The two-leading convenience stores franchise chain, 7-Eleven and FamilyMart, actively build the reusable cups renting system to align with the regulation. They announce that during the policy advocacy period, reusable cups are free for customers to rent and only charge for deposit to attract more people to use this service. However, according to the investigation by independent media, 71.5% of people stay on the sidelines and worry about the cleaning problem and virus infections. The research shows that the hygiene issue is the main point of public concern.
Image by tirachardz on Freepik
Making changes takes work, and it is conceivable that there exist many difficulties on the road to plastic reduction. Nevertheless, with the global trend of plastic decrease, Taiwan starts its action from the booming beverages market, attempting to bring significant environmental change to mitigate plastic pollution. When everyone makes some effort, it will make our environment more beautiful and purer in the future!
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