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Taipei brings forward microbeads ban

Taiwan’s ban on the manufacture, import, use and sale of microbeads will take effect earlier than expected.

The manufacture and importing of cosmetics and personal cleansing and care products containing them will be prohibited from 1 January 2018, and the sale and use of such products from 1 July of that year.

Goods manufactured in or imported into Taiwan before 23 August 2016 are unaffected.

Originally the ban was intended from 1 July 2018 for manufacture/importing and from 1 January 2020 for selling.

Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) Legislator Ms Lin Shu-fen, a frequent advocate for environmental causes, told AsiaHub that "industry wanted a delay in the implementation of this ban, but we are pleased the EPA has set a firm timeline."

The draft rule was published and submitted to the WTO last October.

The changes were made as an administrative order, using Article 21 of the Waste Disposal Act.

The order applies to six categories of cosmetics and personal cleansing products: shampoos, facial cleansers, bathing lotions, soaps, scrubs and toothpastes. Microbeads are defined as plastic beads of less than 5mm in size.

The EPA gave notice of inspections to enforce the ban that will include accessing product data and other relevant records. Illegal goods can be removed from shelves or made subject to recall within a restricted period of time.

Manufacturers and importers violating the order may be liable for fines between NT$60,000 and NT$300,000. Retailers selling the banned products after 1 July 2018 face fines of between NT$1,200 and NT$6,000.

Dennis Engbarth (Taipei City)

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