TAIWAN, A COUNTRY THAT KNOWS NO GARBAGE
…as they went from ‘garbage island’ to one of the cleanest in the world
MBABANE – GO to Taiwan and you will see how they manage the art of dealing garbage.
I was personally impressed on learning how they do it. I noticed every household does not put its garbage bag at the street corner; in fact, Taiwanese hold their garbage bags, stand by the roadside and throw their own garbage bags into the garbage-collecting trucks.
No wonder the country is so clean and honestly, when I say they know no garbage, I just mean that. It’s just a breath of fresh air. I also like the fact that it has not always been like this. They had to come up with strategies to make the country what it is today in terms of cleanliness and dealing with garbage.
I was told there were a lot of garbage pickup spots around Taipei, Taiwan’s capital that trucks visit five nights a week. You wake up in the morning, there is no garbage.
No one tells them its time but instead there are signals to the surrounding community that it’s time to move out onto the street in preparation.
Then you see a big yellow truck appear, always followed by a smaller white cart. The yellow truck is for general trash and the white cart has a set of bins used to categorise recyclable materials. There’s one for glass, paper, cardboard, cans and plastic.
There’s even a bin for raw food waste and one for cooked food waste. Recycling companies process the raw food waste into fertiliser for farmers, and the cooked food waste into food for farm animals.
Volunteers and officials stand on the back of the recycling truck ready to help people sort their recyclables correctly. One by one, everyone throws their small amount personal garbage into the correct truck, and return home to continue on with the day.
They just do a lot to make sure the country is always clean. Judging from what they do, they can never go wrong in as far as maintaining cleanliness is concerned.
In 1996 Taiwan Government made a ‘Keep trash off the ground’ Programme and this is why they throw their own garbage bags into the garbage-collecting trucks.
When they tell you how they started this, you are really shocked at how they have managed to turn things around after they were once dubbed as a ‘garbage island’.
There were huge dumpsters and loose trash on the streets such that they were running out of space to put their waste.
It is clear Taiwan’s previous biggest problem is now its biggest asset, due to the implemen-
tation of these advanced waste management practices.
The Taiwanese buy government designated bags to put their garbage in and throw it into garage collecting trucks and failure to do so, you receive a fine of 1 200 Taiwan dollars (approximate E522).
It means if a household or a shop generates more garbage they should pay more for their waste. The Taiwanese are made to distinguish different types of garbage, for metal can, plastic products they need to throw to recycle trucks instead of throwing into normal garbage collecting trucks.
Then in 1997, the Taiwan Environmental Protection Bureau introduced the ‘Waste Management Law ‘which made
plans to recycle the waste and made subsidy to encourage industries to recycle used products.
Recycling is free and can be brought to the truck in any kind of bag and this is what encourages people to recycle more and produce less trash.
As a result, Taiwan’s communities have learned to be very thoughtful and considerate with their consumptive practices. The Taiwanese government has successfully slashed the daily household waste accumulation from 1.14 kg to a mere 0.43 kg.
The people there pay for plastic bags in the shops so most of them always carry their own shopping bags when they do shopping. I think as Swazis we should also adopt the idea of carrying our bags when going to shop. It helps a great deal in as far as plastic and waste management is concerned.
Due to this successful garbage recycle plan, they successfully reduced 58 per cent of their general garbage in 2011.
You should also be aware, they are the first country to set up the recycle scheme and factories for four electronic products (TV, laundry machine, air conditioner and PC related products).
In 2011 Taiwan had a 48.8 per cent recycle rate of these above four used products which is already over the EU 45 per cent recycle rate set up for the year of 2016.
CLEANLINESS FIRST: This is how the Taiwanese deal with garbage.
IN WAITING: Taiwanese patiently wait for the garbage truck.