Environment is for everyone, so you can be not only "R-Walkers" but also "R-Experts" by recycling resources properly!
【EN】R-Walker#4: I have made the environment clean! Resource recycling lives on.
With the increasing awareness of the public on environmental protection, it has now become everyone’s responsibility to recycle resources properly and they can do it anytime, anywhere if they are willing to. You must have once in a while heard the familiar voice of the "recyclers" who shuttled through the streets at the very beginning in Taiwan.
The song "Jiu gan tang mai bu (any wine bottle to sell?)" is a common memory for many people born in the1960s and 1970s and could be also heard from elderly people riding tricycles shouting along the street in the early days of Taiwan. (This sentence is a question in Taiwanese dialect, meaning if there are empty wine bottles to sell). These recyclers collected empty wine bottles and broken home appliances, for at that time, a glass bottle could be sold for a dime of NT dollar. Today, there are 13 categories of recyclable items which range from PET bottles, iron and aluminum cans to all kinds of papers, waste batteries, etc. It has been a daily routine for everyone to classify the garbage properly.
In order to lead Taiwan toward a circular economy and to convert waste into renewable resources, the government has proactively promoted the recycling and reuse of resources. From "The 4-in-1 Program" promoted in 1997 to the mandatory garbage classification implemented since 2006, the recycling rate increased greatly and has exceeded 50% (in 2019, the resource recycling rate reached 55.14% and garbage recycling rate reached 61.3%) in the past ten years, which is ahead of some advanced countries in Europe and the United States. The recycling rate of PET bottles has even reached as high as 95%.
Many R-Experts have emerged around Taiwan and they can get subsidies when working for environmental protection.
In order to promote the circular economy and enhance the recycling and reuse of resources, the EPA employs self-employed individuals engaged in resource recycling through the "Circular Economy Resource Recycling Army Program" to assist in recycling and sorting resources so as to reduce the burden and cost for cleaning workers. For example, in 2019, there were 3,245 registered self-employed people who were employed by the agency every month with each of them working 25 hours a month on average and making an additional income of NT$ 3,506.
At the same time, in order to take care of the livelihood of self-employed individuals, the EPA has launched the "Resource Recycling Care Program", in which any registered self-employed individual can participate so that they can get subsidies based on weight and quantity of the collected recyclable wastes that they hand in to the cleaning workers. Furthermore, additional subsidies will be provided for waste products such as electric fans, laptops, tablets, keyboards, and other wastes which are rarely recycled. With these programs, "R-Experts" can make the environment cleaner and ease the burden on their financial needs.
Any self-employed individual who has registered with the county and city governments is eligible for subsidies with a maximum of NT$ 5,000 a month per person.
Due to the impact of the COVID-19, the price of resource recycling has fallen since this year. The "Resource Recycling Care Program" has not only increased the subsidy limit from NT$ 3,500 a month per person to NT$ 5,000 but also offered prices higher than those on the recycling market, such as that the subsidized price for waste paper containers is NT$ 18 per kilogram (the market price is only NT$ 1.4 per kilogram), the price for waste glass containers is NT$ 7 per kilogram (the market price is NT$ 0.5), and the price for one discarded keyboard is NT$ 30 (the market price is NT$ 1). In this way, the EPA can help self-employed individuals overcome difficulties and enhance their recycling efficiency at the same time.
The high recycling rate in Taiwan can be attributed to every citizen working together to reduce waste from the beginning and implement waste sorting. Special mention should also be given to the the "R-Experts", such as the resource recycling trucks and the recycling stations in each village, the environmental protection volunteers who contribute to this advocacy silently and self-employed individuals who are assisting in recycling reusable materials. With their efforts, the environment has become cleaner.