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June 29, 2017

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Stores in New Taipei to stop selling single-use shopping bags

TAIPEI, Taiwan -- Starting in October, all hypermarkets, supermarkets and convenience stores in New Taipei will stop selling single-use plastic shopping bags to customers, as part of effort to reduce plastic waste, the city's Environmental Protection Department said on Friday.

The program, which was first implemented in May on a trial basis in 21 stores, will be expanded to another 330 stores in July, the department said.

By October, all 2,630 stores in the city will be part of the trial program, according to the department.

Starting on Jan. 1, 2018, the program will be officially adopted and hypermarkets, supermarkets and convenience stores in the city will only be allowed to sell plastic bags that can be reused as certified garbage bags to customers asking for a temporary shopping bag. Any store found to be in violation will be fined, the department said.

Under the "per-bag trash collection fee" system implemented in Taipei and New Taipei, residents are required to put household garbage in certified garbage bags to be able to dump it in a garbage truck.

Since 2003, the Environmental Protection Administration has prohibited certain stores from providing customers with free plastic shopping bags.

This ban applies to government agencies, schools, department stores, shopping malls, hypermarkets, supermarkets, convenience stores and fast-food restaurant chains.

On Jan. 1, 2018, the ban will be expanded to include pharmacies, drug and cosmetics stores, medical instrument stores, retailers of electrical appliances, cameras, information and communication equipment, book and stationery stores, laundries, beverage stores and bakeries.

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