Starting Jan. 1, 2018, seven new businesses and 80,000 regulated subjects, including cosmetics stores and pharmacies, medical supply stores, electronic device and components retailers, bookstores, cleaners, beverage shops, and bakeries, were added to Taiwan’s plastic ban policy. These vendors can no longer provide plastic bags for free.

The Taiwan Environmental Protection Administration (EPA) initially expected an annual reduction of 1.5 billion plastic bags in total as a result of the ban, 870 million of which would be from beverage vendors.

I-Hwai Lee (李宜樺), a specialist with the EPA’s Department of Waste Management, said that his team inspected whether vendors provided free plastic bags and recorded the number of customers and how many plastic bags were sold during an inspection visit.

The data revealed that almost 70 percent of customers choose not to buy a plastic bag after the plastic ban was tightened, suggesting the ban is having a marked effect in reducing the use of plastic bags in Taiwan.

Violators of the ban are eligible to be fined NT$6,000 (US$196). According to the EPA, 60 warning tickets were given out after 600,000 inspection visits between January to April.

Beverage shops were the main violators, receiving 39 of the warning tickets given. Bakeries had the second most violations, receiving nine, and seven warning tickets were given to cosmetics stores and pharmacies.

Read Next: Taiwan’s Waste Reduction Miracle

Editor: David Green