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Onsite Styrofoam marine waste volume reduction containers, a industry, academia, and government collaboration

LITEON launched the SEA HOPE – the Sustainability Development Project based on the idea of a circular economy. The partnership with QiHui Environmental Technology has so far helped the Penghu County Government clear away 35 tonnes of Styrofoam marine waste. The volume is stimated at more than 3,300 cubic meters, or the equivalent of 1.5 Olympic-sized swimming pools. Statistics show that a 60 kg Styrofoam buoy can break down to 7.6 million pieces of 2.5 mm diameter microplastics in the ocean. The microplastics have a huge impact on the environment. Meanwhile, according to the 2019 Taiwan coastal waste quick screening survey, marine waste in Taiwan weighed a total of 646 tonnes. The largest groups in terms of volume percentage were Styrofoam fishing equipment, discarded fishing gear, and plastic bottles. Unlike plastic bottles, which have a fully developed recycling system and can be developed into recycled materials for reuse, Styrofoam marine waste with its massive volume faces shipping costs far exceeding returns on recycling. While local governments on smaller islands are unable to pay for cleanup, Styrofoam processing has become a difficult issue in marine waste. Hence, LITEON and QiHui teamed up further and created the world's first "portable Styrofoam marine waste volume reducing container." Shipping the front-end equipment for the Styrofoam recycling process to the location of waste could reduce the volume by 90%. Moreover, subsequent processing could be completed by sending the recycling bins back to Taiwan. The approach saves shipping costs and increases recycling efficiency.

LITEON worked with QiHui Environmental Technology, a social enterprise, as well as the Environmental Protection Bureau of Penghu County and the Environmental Protection Bureau of Kinmen County in developing the world's first containers that onsite process and reduce the transportation volume of Styrofoam marine waste significantly by 90%. A donation ceremony hosted by LITEON GCEO. for onsite Styrofoam marine waste volume reduction containers was held at LITEON's Neihu headquarters on May 8, 2020. The recipients were the Environmental Protection Bureau of Penghu County and the Environmental Protection Bureau of Kinmen County. Representatives of the Ocean Conservation Administration of the Ocean Affairs Council, Material and Chemical Research Laboratories of ITRI, and QiHui Environmental Technology were also invited to bear witness to the ceremony.

The Kinmen County Government and the Penghu County Government subsequently held a launch ceremony for the containers on June 6 and July 17, respectively. Magistrate Cheng-Wu Yang hosted the ceremony in Kinmen County. Representatives of the Environmental Protection Administration, the Ocean Affairs Council, LITEON, and QiHui Environmental Technology were invited to join in and launch the containers and the Styrofoam marine waste volume reduction process. Meanwhile, Director-general Kao-Liang Chen of the Environmental Protection Bureau hosted the ceremony in Penghu County. The process was launched by LITEON and QiHui Environmental Technology. The project not only attracted the attention and interest of other local governments (Keelung, Taoyuan, Matsu, and Tainan) but also won the support of the Ocean Affairs Council of Executive Yuan. OAC went to Executive Yuan for an annual budget to subsidize Kinmen County and Penghu County for using onsite volume reduction containers to process Styrofoam marine waste. It is estimated that onsite volume reduction containers had helped Kinmen and Penghu process a total of 50 tonnes of Styrofoam marine waste by 2020.

To ensure more consistent quality in recycled Styrofoam-based recycled plastics, LITEON works with the Industrial Technology Research Institute to modify recycled Styrofoam marine waste, and turn r-PS into HIPS. Modified recycled plastics will be able to be used to make LITEON keyboards and mice. The world's first onsite volume reduction approach for Styrofoam marine waste can be expected to be adopted by more local governments. A plan to introduce the approach to countries with diplomatic ties has also started taking shape. It will bring more citizens of the world together in finding solutions to ocean pollution.