Taiwan’s ban on the use of single-use plastic straws goes into effect today (July 1) and single-use plastic straws will no longer be available at a wide range of venues in Taiwan.
In accordance with the Environmental Protection Administration’s (EPA) plan to restrict the use of single-use plastic straws, government agencies, public and private schools, department stores and shopping malls, as well as for onsite use at chain fast-food stores, will be targeted by the ban. For now, take-out and delivery orders can still include plastic straws.
First-time violators will not be punished, but if they breach the regulations again, they would face a fine of NT$1,200 to NT$6,000.
After this year’s ban of single-use plastic drinking straws, the EPA plans to expand restrictions on providing customers with more free plastic bags and single-use (disposable) plastics from next year on.
People in Taiwan use 3 billion plastic straws per year on average and a Taiwanese person on average uses 700 plastic bags annually. The EPA aims to reduce the number to 100 by 2025 and to zero by 2030. 
Last year the EPA and several environmental groups have laid out a slew of initiatives and measures to reduce plastic waste.
On 2018 July 1, Taiwan’s EPA banned the sales of personal care products containing plastic microbeads. 
According to the timetable, the EPA plans to expand a restriction on providing customers with free plastic shopping bags to all retail stores that issue uniform invoices by 2020. Plastic bags will be charged and restricted in all all commercial places by 2025 and a blanket ban on plastic shopping bags is set to be introduced in 2030.
Starting from this year, many customers will find that straws are no longer available when they dine at the fast food restaurants like McDonald’s, and fewer shops will provide plastic bags for free.
The latest agenda is also controversial. Environmentalists argue that it is unreasonable to require 12 years to ban something eternally detrimental to our ecosystem, as more than 80% of marine litter is plastics.
In other regions of the world action is taken much faster and stronger. The European Union just decided to ban single-use plastics by 2021. 
On the other hand, plastic-centric convenience is deeply ingrained in Taiwanese consumption culture. Life without straws and plastic bags is unimaginable for many customers.
The ban of single-use plastic straws is only a small step on a long journey towards a plastic-free island and not only requires initiatives and measures from the government, but also requires the commitment and collaboration of us all, for the good of planet earth and all its inhabitants.
By Stefan Simon for Collective Green