20 C
Spain
Sunday, September 20, 2020

Taiwan’s capital Taipei, a shining pioneer in recycling policy

Must read

In memoriam Lee Teng-hui, first native President of Taiwan

Lee Teng-hui, one of Asia’s most relevant leaders of the 20th century, passed away on July 30th, aged 97.

Alsace-a very special part of France

Among the many French I have met so far only one who wouldn’t agree with me that the region Elsass (Alsace in...

The first James Bond turns 90

Sean Connery, the first actor to play fictional British secret agent James Bond 007, created in 1953 by English writer Ian Fleming...

25 years ago, demolition of Japanese cultural remain begins

On August 15th, 1995, 50 years after Japan´s unconditional surrender in World War II and the end of its 35-year rule in...

As I have now almost 35 years of recycling experience, one of the many things that I do miss about Taiwan– except too many cockroaches, daily (although often unnoticeable) earthquakes and an average of three heavy typhoons every year- is the excellent recycling system, first started in July 2000 in the capital Taipei. The usual municipal garbage disposal fee was abolished and special plastic bags with a forgery-proof hologram came on the market. Smart criminals immediately saw a new business opportunity and tried to copy them! Less than a year later, after then-mayor Ma Ying-jeou from the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) had received information on 56 cases of bag counterfeiting and cracked down on 14 of them, he wanted to impose fines of up to 30 million New Taiwan dollars (US$911,854) and jail terms of three to seven years for producing fake bags, which looked so similar to the official ones that not even the city’s Bureau of Environmental Protection experts could tell the difference between them. The legal pink-colored bags were introduced at extremely reasonable prices, for example 1.3 euros for 20 five liter bags. Most of the time, for me one of those bags was enough for one week. They still can be purchased at the same price at supermarkets and convenience stores all over Taiwan. As there are around 10,000 of those 24/7 shops all over the island, you don’t have to walk far or wait even five minutes to get them. The combined efforts by the government and the population have resulted in a recycling rate of 55% nationwide and 67% in the capital Taipei, making it one of the highest in the world. They had no choice, as Taiwan has the size of Holland, but only 20% of its surface is actually arable land and probably were inspired by neighboring Japan, a package-crazy, but also nature-loving, clean country. Most Taiwanese I know take recycling quite seriously and even organic waste is separated into two categories, used as pig fodder or fertilizer. There are no trash containers on the street, so people who don’t live in large buildings or communities, where paid staff takes care of garbage disposal, have to wait for the truck that comes with music two or three times a day, usually starting in the late afternoon. Recyclable items can be given in any type of bag to members of the public cleansing service arriving with the lorry, or to the waiting older citizens who rely on cans, paper and plastic bottles for extra income. It’s always useful to have a regular chat in Chinese with these fellows. Once you have befriended them, they sometimes might be willing to throw out the regular garbage for you when you have something more urgent to do!

- Advertisement -

More articles

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

- Advertisement -

Latest article

Spanish government presents its version of civil war history

On September 15th, 2020 the Spanish Council of Ministers approved the Draft Bill of Democratic Memory that will repeal the controversial, very...

Farewell to the Mongolian and Tibetan Affairs Commission

Under the current Constitution of the Republic of China (ROC, still Taiwan’s official name), approved in Nanking in 1947, Tibet and Mongolia...

Bashar al-Assad, a well-educated autocrat

Bashar al-Assad, the second son of former Syrian ruler Hafez al-Assad (1930-2000) and his wife Anisa Makhlouf (1930-2016), who took over the...

Gender indoctrination of the youngest reaches Taiwan

Kaohsiung, Taiwan’s biggest port and third largest city, has a population of almost 2.8 million. Huang Jie (born 1993) is a local...

How low can the Spanish Prime Minister fall?

Responding to a question in the Spanish Senate by a member of Bildu, the parliamentary extension of ETA, the former Basque terrorist...