TAIPEI, July 23 (Reuters) – Taiwan is flooded with rubbish after a major COVID-19 case spurred movement that led to an increase in online shopping and food distribution and is threatening to pull off efforts to reduce consumption. use plastic.

Taiwan has been dealing with an outbreak of COVID-19 community broadcasts since April after several months with several infections in the family and since mid-May was under curbs restricting personal gatherings and restricting restaurants from receiving the service.

Lin Yu-huei, head of recycling at Taipei’s Department of Environmental Protection, said the amount of containers dumped in the capital Taipei between January and May increased by 85% compared to the same period last year.

In May alone, Taipei produced 10.79 tonnes of recyclable waste compared to 7.05 tonnes a year earlier, the environmental protection department announced.

Most of them are disposable tableware, like paper and plastic, and that has to do with environmentalists.

“We can not go back to using disposable items whenever there is an epidemic outbreak,” said Tang An, an activist at Greenpeace Taiwan.

“This would mean that all past efforts to reduce plastic waste would have been for nothing.”

Disposal containers are seen among other fertilizers at a waste collection plant in Taipei, Taiwan, July 15, 2021. Photo taken July 15, 2021. REUTERS / Ann Wang

New Taipei, the municipality around the capital, saw a 50% increase in recyclable waste in May compared to a year ago, Tang said.

While disposable tableware and plastic items are banned in food courts and supermarkets, most restaurants and liquor stores, which are also the largest source of disposable plastic, are excluded from politics.

These are also the businesses that have seen the largest increase in delivery orders.

Chef Pan Yen-ming at Taipei’s Korean An-Nyeong restaurant said he spent about $ 20,000 ($ 713.75) on single-use cutlery in June, increasing raw material costs by up to 14% .

“I have to confess that I decide to close my eyes before that, I have to pass on the social responsibility to others for this, claiming I do not know,” he said.

“If you do not pack food in a beautiful way, no one will pay attention to you.”

($ 1 = 28.0210 Taiwan dollars)

Edited by Ben Blanchard and Christian Schmollinger

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