Taiwan bans PVC in food packaging
On April 30, 2022, news agency Focus Taiwan reported that Taiwan’s Environmental Protection Administration (EPA) will ban food packaging made of or containing any polyvinyl chloride (PVC) beginning July 2023. With the restriction, “Taiwan can expect to reduce some 79 metric tons of PVC food packaging every year.” Those caught selling, manufacturing, or importing PVC food packaging may be fined.
Focus Taiwan also reported that the EPA announced new rules to discourage the use of single-use plastic cups. “From July 1, all stores will be required to provide a discount of at least NT$5 (US$0.17) to customers with their own cup or face a fine.” There has been a smaller government-mandated discount in place since 2011. By January 2023, chain stores must offer reusable cups with a deposit. Moreover, the EPA “has asked local governments to submit their own plans to ban single-use plastic cups and cups made of styrofoam at chain stores by 2024.”
Taiwan is following the example of South Korea and New Zealand. South Korea introduced new rules about disposable cups in February 2022, and New Zealand announced in 2021 a plan to ban PVC-containing food packaging by mid-2025 (FPF reported).
Research by Zimmermann et al. in 2021 found that migrates from PVC products, also including food contact materials, were highly toxic in in vitro bioassays (FPF reported). In 2022, Völker et al. reported that of the 34 plastic products tested, PVC and polyurethane products most consistently contained chemicals with adipogenic activity (i.e. fat producing; FPF reported). In addition, according to a framework developed by Senathirajah et al. to characterize and rank the environmental risks of plastic polymers, PVC is one of the polymers with the highest risk of harm (FPF reported).
Food Packaging Forum, 3-05-22