Taiwan retailers not doing well on reducing plastic use: Greenpeace

Taipei-The nine major retailers in Taiwan are not performing satisfactorily in terms of eliminating plastic packaging, according to a report released Tuesday by the non-governmental environmental organization Greenpeace.

Taiwan retailers -- from hypermarkets to convenience stores -- are carrying out sporadic programs to reduce plastic packaging but do not have any sustainable plans in that regard, said Chang Kai-ting (???) of Greenpeace, whose work is focused on plastic reduction.

"None of the retailers have a comprehensive or systematic plan for cutting the use of plastic packaging," Chang said.

It would be best if companies drew up a schedule for phasing out plastic packaging and implemented some systematic plans accordingly, she said.

There should also be better communication between the workers at retail outlets and their customers to promote reusable packaging, Chang said.

In the interest of transparency, she said, Greenpeace is urging retailers to check their use of plastic packaging and make the results public.

The biggest retail chain in Taiwan, PX Mart, is doing better than the other eight major retailers in reducing the use of plastic packaging but still only scored 22.7 out of 100 in that regard, according to the Greenpeace report.

Among other measures, PX Mart has promised to include data on its plastic packaging in its annual corporate social responsibility report, starting next year, the report said.

Meanwhile, the other eight major retailers -- Costco, Carrefour, RT-Mart, A.mart, Wellcome, FamilyMart, 7-Eleven and Simple Mart - averaged a score of 11.6 in the Greenpeace report on the use of plastic packaging.

Simple Mart's score was 1.1, which reflected the fact that does not provide adequate information about its plastic policy or take measures to eliminate single-use plastics, Greenpeace said.

Chang said it is important for retailers in Taiwan to join the global efforts to reduce plastic packaging.

Earlier this year, Greenpeace found that 77 recent of the products in retail outlets in Taiwan are packaged in plastic, she said.

Plastic waste is regarded by the United Nations as a global crisis amid climate change, Greenpeace noted in its report.

Currently, only 14 percent of the plastic around the world is recycled, while 32 percent is improperly discarded, 40 percent buried in garbage landfill sites, and 14 percent burnt in incinerators, the report said.

As a result of poor disposal practices, plastics are often found in the stomachs of beached whales and dolphins, according to Greenpeace.

Source: Focus Taiwan News Channel