Five nights a week across Taipei, “todays opening” bars of Beethoven’s Fur Elise signal the commencement of a modern legend. Roused by the music din from scrap trucks as they clang along the bustling streets, inhabitants scurry to the curb seize bags of pre-sorted trash — blue for scrap, lily-white for recyclables. Aboard the trucks, craftsmen separate recyclables into designated buckets( plastic, paper, glass, metal, and so on ). Raw food goes to the compost bin; cooked nutrient will be reused as pig feed.
This impressively choreographed dance has become second-nature in the capital city of 2.7 million. But 30 years ago, it “wouldve been” preposterous. In the ’8 0s and ’9 0s, Taiwan had one of the world’s worst metropolitan trash troubles. Its landfills overflowed and mountains of rubbish choked street corners, deserving it the unflattering moniker “Garbage Island.”
Fed up with the growth of trash, beings across the country expected act. They burned junk in the streets and mobilized at dump places. Over the next two decades, the government modernized the waste management infrastructure of small island developing from spring to limb, investing in waste trucks and recycling flowers and swapping from landfills to incineration. New regulations made companies and consumers to share the physical and monetary responsibility of recycling and scrap collect, fixing personal accountability and incentivizing people to produce less garbage in the first place.
Yen-Chi Chang, 26, who grew up along the east coast of Taiwan and now works in marketing, was born just as the ebbs of litter were beginning to turn.
“When my mothers were in school , no one paid attention to the importance of recycling, ” said Chang. “[ Now ], we are told from an early age that there is a requirement recycle.”
Today, Taiwan’s 55 % recycling pace is among the highest the world, up from virtually zero three decades ago. For purposes of comparison, the U.S. recycling proportion is 34. 7% and the European Union’s is 46% . The median Taiwanese person induces 850 grams( 1.9 pounds) of litter daily, down from 1.2 kilograms( 2.6 pounds) 15 years ago. In the U.S ., the average was 4.4 pounds per person per date in 2013. This year, Taiwan committed to banning all single-use plastics — including purses, expendable bowls, utensils and straws — by 2030.
As activists and policymakers urgently attempt solutions to stem the global tide of squander, Taiwan’s recycling revolution substantiates the essential role of an organized civil society in impel governments to prioritize responsible waste management. Moreover, it’s a task in how prosperity and urbanization can contribute to waste, but too help reduce it.