Basic law

The main waste management regulations in Taiwan are the Waste Disposal Act which was enacted in 1974 and the Resource Recycling Act which was enacted in 2002. Waste Disposal Act mainly regulates waste disposal, while Resource Recycling Act mainly regulates effective usage of resources (e.g. recycling and reuse), and these two laws are the basic laws in Taiwan’s waste management and recycling system. Both of them are administered by the Taiwan’s Environmental Protection Administration. The main contents of the Waste Disposal Act and the Resource Recycling Act are summarized in the following table.

The main contents of the Waste Disposal Act and the Resource Recycling Act

Law name Main contents
Waste Disposal Act


  • Provisions on waste collection and disposal methods
  • Provisions on collection of recycling fees/ subsidies to disposal enterprises
  • Provisions on the obligation of recycling mark
Resource Recycling Act
  • Provisions on the use of recycled resources
  • Provisions on measures to reduce waste generation (such as avoiding over packing)

The Waste Disposal Act is a fundamental waste-related law, and it was enacted in 1974. It is said that the Waste Disposal Act was formulated based on Japan’s Waste Management Law.

Waste disposal in Taiwan is carried out based on the Waste Disposal Act, and standards for the disposal of waste vehicles and lead-acid batteries have also been established in accordance with the Waste Disposal Act. In addition to providing for the collection and disposal of general and industrial waste and the operation of related facilities, the collection of recycling fees for designated products (recycling, cleaning and disposal fees), and matters related to manufacturers, such as the obligation to affix recycling mark, and subsidies for waste disposal enterprises are also stipulated.

On the other hand, in order to reduce the amount of waste generated, the Resource Recycling Act provides for the utilization of resources, such as recycling and reuse, and also includes regulations on over packaging.


Basic management system

In the “Waste Disposal Act “, the definitions and provisions for waste are as follows.

  Definition Provisions on disposal, etc.
Waste The following things refer to any movable solid or liquid substance or object:

  1. Which is discarded;
  2. Which lost its original function, or is abandoned, has no function, or the function is unclear;
  3. Which is generated in the process of construction, manufacturing, processing, repairing, sale, or other activities, and is a by-product;
  4. Which is generated from production process that has no viable technology existing, or has no economic value in the market;
  5. Which is announced as “waste” by central governing authority.
The above “waste” is roughly divided into general waste and industrial waste. The industrial waste is further defined in details. The definition of Article 2 is as follows
General waste Waste other than industrial waste. The regulations on general waste disposal are described in Chapter 2. Article 14 of the Waste Disposal Act states that government is responsible for the collection and disposal of general waste. The actual processing of general waster is carried out by public facilities or outsourced to private companies.


Industrial waste Industrial waste refers to waste that is produced from industry activities (but excluding waste generated by the employees themselves), including “hazardous industrial waste” and “general industrial waste.”
A. Hazardous industrial waste: waste produced by industry that is toxic or dangerous with the concentration or quantity is sufficient to affect human health or pollute the environment.
B. General industrial waste: waste produced by industry that is not hazardous industrial waste.
The regulations on industrial waste disposal are described in Chapter 3. Article 28 of the Waste Disposal Act stipulates that the disposal of industrial waste, shall be performed in self-clearance and disposal or joint clearance and disposal, or outsource to a disposal company.



“Measures for Review and Management of Industrial Waste Clearance Plans”

On November 13, 2017, the Taiwan Environmental Protection Administration enacted the “Measures for Review and Management of Industrial Waste Clearance Plans”. This regulation came into effect on July 1, 2018.

The Waste Disposal Act, amended on January 18, 2017, stipulates that enterprises are required to submit an industrial waste clearance plan (specifying the amount of industrial waste generated, disposal methods, etc.) to the city or county government, or the agency entrusted by the central government. The purpose of this regulation is to strengthening the management of industrial wastes generation sources, to ensure consistency in the review work of each local government, to improve the efficiency of review, and to improve the overall management of industrial wastes.


Introduction of the extend producer responsibility system, promotion of the 4-in-1 Recycling Program

The extend producer responsibility system was introduced in 1988 when the Waste Disposal Act was amended. This amendment stipulates the Environmental Protection Administration to designate the products and containers to be collected and requires the manufacturers and importers of those products and containers to take responsibility for recycling, clearance and disposal.

Later, in 1997, the Waste Disposal Act was amended again, and with this amendment, the “4-in-1 Program for All to Participate in Feedback Resources Recycling ” (hereinafter referred to as “the 4-in-1 Recycling program”) was promoted. At the same time, the Resource Recovery Management Fund was established.

The 4-in-1 Recycling Program calls for “citizens,” “local government,” “disposal enterprise” and “recycling funds” to work together to establish a network of resources recycling. The website of the Environmental Protection Administration has the following explanation on the 4-in-1 Recycling Program, showing the relationship between the four parties as follows

“Citizens” will classify the garbage in each household, and each type of small recyclable garbage generated by each household will be collected and reused with the help of “disposal enterprise” and “recycling fund”, with the cooperation of “local government”. Citizens, local government, disposal enterprises, and the recycling funds will work together to establish a collection network to ensure the collection, reuse, or proper disposal of recyclable waste.

(Figure: Conceptual diagram of the 4-in-1 Recycling Program (quoted from the Environmental Protection Administration official website)


The Recycling Fund Management Board system

In Taiwan, under the Recycling Management Fund (RMF) established in 1998, a system is in place to collect recycling fees from manufacturers and others, and then distribute them as subsidies to waste disposal enterprises. Under this program, based on the sales, a certain amount of money is collected from the manufacturers and importers for the target Products, to be used as recycling fees. Expenses related to resource recycling, such as subsidies for disposal enterprises, installation of collection bins, and administrative costs of the Recycling Fund Management Board, are covered by these recycling fees.


Other related matters

Recycling Marks

Rather than “The WEEE symbol” of the European WEEE Directive, Taiwan adopts their own recycling mark. Designated enterprises are required to affix the mark.


The manifest is managed by the Waste Management Center of the Environmental Protection Administration. The manifest is detailed in Article 17 of “Industrial Waste Storage and Disposal Methods and Facility Standards”.

Collaborative department for industrial waste disposal methods and treatment

Article 28 of “Waste Disposal Act” stipulates that “disposal of industrial waste shall be carried out by the methods listed below, except for reuse, the 4 methods are described as follows:

  1. Self-clearance and disposal.
  2. Joint clearance and disposal
  3. Outsourcing clearance and disposal
  4. Other methods that receive central authority’s permission

Among these, the “Joint clearance and disposal “ is specified as” the enterprises submit an application to the industry competent authority for permission for the establishment of a joint waste clearance and disposal organization to clear and dispose of the category of waste at issue”, regard this, the Environmental Protection Administration has stated that it will “actively lead the establishment of a collaborative disposal system with private sectors to provide a pluralistic approach for industry”. The Environmental Protection Administration, in cooperation with each department, has set up departmental rules for the management of joint clearance and disposal agencies, and set standards for their licensing and management. According to the website of the Environmental Protection Administration, there are 11 such joint organizations.