[re]duce [re]use [re]cycle
One of the most striking things about Taiwan to me is the concerted effort to reduce waste. It makes sense that they would be more concerned with waste (than for example, Kansas) b/c there is a limit to..well everything!
In terms of reducing energy waste (or, saving electricity, for example..) most apartments are not fitted with dishwashers, drying machines, or heaters.
So this lack of, from my American-midwestern- P.O.V., basic amenities has interesting effects on everyday life.
1. No dishwasher. I cook a lot of my meals at home so that means dishwashing. All. the. time.
2. No dryer. Hanging clothes to dry isn’t a big deal to me, but pretty soon here it’s going to be “cold” and it apparently takes a really long time for clothes to dry b/c A) there’s no indoor heating B) it’s such a humid climate.
3. No. Heating. This hasn’t been a huge issue yet because I live in Taichung, known as having the most “moderate” weather. But because of the moisture in the air, it feels much colder out than it is. Furthermore, when you ride a scooter, it feels about 10 degrees colder than it is. So, even if it is 59 degrees out, it might feel like 45 degrees. And, again this hasn’t really been an issue yet, but waking up in the cold, going to school in the cold, and then going to bed in the cold doesn’t necessarily sound appealing to me.
Tangent: our schools are supposed to be super energy conscious as well. In between classes at one of my schools we turn all the lights and fans off, even if we are only out of the classroom for 10 minutes.
So, I am not as familiar with what is reused here? But I couldn’t leave it out so…
Oh boy. Taiwan deserves all the recycling *superstar* stickers.
Walking around Taiwan you don’t see trash cans, because you aren’t supposed to throw things in the trash. You are supposed to take them home and recycling them.
So my roommate and I have lived in our little apartment in Taiyuan for about 3 months, and I’ve only REALLY done one big recycling run.
I was so compelled by how bizarre it was (esp. in contrast with typical Kansas recycling habits) that I felt the need to share.
I had a HUGE plastic bag filled with milk cartons, quaker oats aluminum cans, orange juice plastic bottles, water bottles, grape juice bottles, bottles. Lots of bottles. I wrangled the thing down 5 flights of stairs to our apartment complexes recycling center (directly across from our door man, who slept through everything I’m about to tell you about).
So the 4 doors above represent 4 different recycling options (of 8 that our apartment complex has). 3 of the 4 above are for differing kinds of plastics.
It took me like 20 minutes to sort it all out. It was like the longest and loudest guessing/matching game of my life.
I might have made that sound more dramatic than it is?
So anyway, Taiwan is serious about being environment friendly- they have a lot of strict policies about energy use and waste reduction. For example, if the people who take care of the garbage see that there are bottles, that could be recycled, in our trash our apartment complex gets fined. This explains why the doormen explained the recycling system to us, and then had an English speaker explain it to us.
Honestly, I’ve never been an avid recycler so this process is ……a lot to adjust to, but I have a feeling it’s going to be one of the things that follows me back to America in some capacity.