The problem of general waste (hereinafter referred to as garbage) management in Taiwan emerged after the booming consumer spending in the 1990s; especially metropolitan cities are facing the most serious situation since the NIMBY effect and environmental protection controversy conflict happened frequently in those areas. Consequently, they could not cope with stress and environmental burdens incurred from the year-by-year growth of waste.
In the past few decades, Taiwan’s garbage collection methods were mostly based on tap water consumption. However, the waste amount and water consumption was unrelated and so people were lacking incentives for waste reduction. The law of Garbage Cleaning and Handling Fees were legislated in the spirit of user charge. Based on this law, Taipei City government initiated and implemented the Per-Bag-Trash-Collection-Fee Policy in 2000, leading to significant garbage reduction. The data show that the reduction rate of daily garbage clearance reached 80.34% in Taipei, with an average per capita daily garbage clearance volume drop of 0.273kg from 1.42kg , and recycled rate increased from 1.82% to 56.15%. In light of these significant results, it can be seem a good policy achieving the effect of waste reduction. The main research question of this thesis is that why this policy did not diffused to other local governments even if the significant positive effect has been proved.
Based on literature review of the theory of innovation diffusion as well as interviews of several local government officials, this study found that policy characteristics (relative advantage, compatibility, complexity, trialability and observability) of innovation policy play important roles in the diffusion process. The compatibility of Per-Bag-Trash-Collection-Fee Policy particularly affects a larger extent compared to the other four attributes; which is compatible with the value of the existing social system. In addition, the support from the local leaders and elected representatives and the compatibility with the concept having been accepted by the society, all affect the likelihood of acceptance of this policy. Finally, this research also found that people failed to realize the difference between the Per-Bag-Trash-Collection-Fee Policy and the water-based policy due to asymmetric information, and the small needs of people in the area are all the reasons of policy non-diffusion.
Garbage zero waste and efficient use of resources are policy objectives of all countries. Compared to other collection methods, the Per-Bag-Trash-Collection-Fee Policy is more likely to reach the extent of fair, reasonable and legitimate collections, and the economic incentives design would enhance the willingness of people to cooperate with policy. Based on the research findings, this study suggests governments, first of all, should deepen public awareness of this policy by improving environmental education. Secondly, should also review the waste disposal costs and financial impact to propose short, medium and long-term strategies for seeking effective policy for sustainable environment.