The Lantern Festival is almost here. Every year, numerous local governments distribute handheld lanterns to residents as gifts. However, not anymore for Taipei City this year, as residents voted through the i-Voting system to stop handing out free lanterns to protect the environment, ending a 22-year tradition. The Environmental Protection Administration says composite materials are hard to recycle, and if lanterns are to be handed out, they should be made from just one material.
Wu Yi-qian is a Taipei City resident who is concerned about environmental and ecological issues. She holds in her hands a pink pig lantern made from hemp rope and rubber. Last year, she launched a proposal to "stop distributing free lanterns." Taipei City residents then voted to pass the proposal via the i-Voting system. As a result, the Taipei City Government will not distribute handheld lanterns to residents for this year's Lantern Festival. Wu says there was criticism over the ending of this tradition, but she believes handing out these lanterns is actually destroying the tradition.
Everyone gets the same thing, which is actually destroying the tradition. Children play with it for a while, and then throw it away. They don't know how to cherish things, because they get one every year.
Wu points out the handheld lanterns, which are based on animals of the Chinese zodiac, are handed out on an annual basis. If their batteries are not recycled, they could end up contaminating the environment. Moreover, lanterns made from composite materials such as polypropylene (PP) cannot be recycled at all.
PP synthetic paper cannot be recycled. PP can be recycled, but PP synthetic paper cannot be recycled. It can only be tossed into the incinerator. However, the government has never said anything about this.
Last year, city and county governments handed out 1.1 million handheld lanterns, which contained 3.3 million button cells. The Environmental Protection Administration says the batteries are typically not completely depleted and advise the public to use them up before recycling them. As for lanterns, those made from composite materials are hard to recycle.
Lanterns will be easier to recycle and can be handled more effectively if they are made up of just one type of material.
Taipei City residents informed the Taipei City Government of their desire to do away with handheld lanterns through the i-Voting system, ending the 22-year tradition. However, other city and county governments are still distributing lanterns, including New Taipei City, Taoyuan City, Hsinchu, Taichung City, and Pingtung. They have already announced where and when residents can get the lanterns.