The wastes in California are picked up with a mechanical garbage truck and then be poured directly into this truck once a week. The wastes are divided into black (general waste), blue (recyclable) and green (garden weeds) and for that each household needs to pay $20-50 per month as waste disposal fees.
【EN】R-Walker#06: Keep eco-friendly when travelling abroad. Be an international “R-Walker” and get to know how wastes are sorted in other countries.
In Taiwan, we have often heard that many foreigners were surprised at the classical music "To Alice" played by the garbage trucks in Taiwan, because the same music will recall them of the "ice cream truck" in their countries and childhood. In comparison with the garbage and recycling trucks in Taiwan driving through the streets, in other countries, the garbage is mostly concentrated in designated areas, put into large bins with different colors and the waste disposal companies will come to collect it.
As a result, it has become a Taiwanese experience for foreigners to talk about that the people in Taiwan are carrying garbage waiting side by side with neighbors at the fixed time and a yellow garbage truck will be approaching with the classical melody. The well-known American Youtuber LoganDBeck’s mother has shared this experience in his video Taiwan Garbage Truck: "It's a great moment to chat with your neighbors and also a great social activity; in the USA, we use three large garbage bins for garbage and later the garbage trucks will pick them up to empty them.” Resource recycling has been a routine that people all over the world are doing; therefore, if you want to know which part about waste sorting is the same and which part is different between in Taiwan and other countries, this time we R-Walkers are going to let you know the recycling items in other countries so that people travelling abroad can become international "R-Walkers" who know how to sort their wastes as the native people do!
Recycling and sorting are different from country to country so that what we need to do first is ask for a waste sorting brochure.
Take the Taipei City Recycling Brochure as example, the recycling trucks collect only designated items by each day.
In Taiwan, there are mostly two kinds of garbage bins, "general garbage" and "recyclable" side by side in public places so that the citizens can simply sort their wastes. In addition to the simple waste sorting, there are different degrees of recycling and sorting from place to place. Let’s take household waste in Taipei City as example, where the wastes are divided into four categories: General Garbage, Solid Waste (small home appliances, paper-based packages, clean Styrofoam), Flat Waste (clean old clothes, used books and wastepaper) and Others (lightening tubes, batteries and food waste). Before bringing the garbage to the recycling truck, you had better check if the waste belongs to the item designated for recycling on that day to avoid that you carry the wrong one for recycling. The Department of Environmental Protection of each county and municipal will print recycling brochures or home recycling manual for the public to consult.
The waste sorting in Japan can be simply divided into the following symbols: the triangle for plastic bottles, the oval for paper and the square for plastic.
The wastes in the public places in Japan are divided into "aluminum cans" and PET bottles" and “general waste" or only two categories "burnable" and "unburnable". The household wastes are divided into seven categories: "burnable waste", "paper", "plastic", "resources", "PET bottles", "specific items" and "buriable garbage" and each category goes with its exclusive bag. Compared with the weekly recycling brochure in Taiwan, the resource recycling segmentation in Japan has been so detailed that it needs to be collected as a "book" and to be used together with the "Yearly Garbage Collection Table".
For example, it has been mentioned in the recycling brochure in Yokohama: "If there is only one sock, it belongs to burnable waste but if there are a pair and still not broken, they can be ‘upgraded’ to be ‘Used Clothes’." Therefore, before discarding any garbage in Japan, you had better confirm the symbols on the package and read the local recycling brochure carefully to avoid that your garbage may be rejected or returned with your name on it by the garbage centralization area because you have not sorted it according to the sorting rules.
Before using the underpass for recycling, people must carefully organize their wastes before putting them inside.
The cans and bottles are recycled through the recycling boxes in each supermarket in Sweden. Each bottle and can has a recycling price tag on it so that as it is put into the box, the machine will print out a piece of invoice, with which the customers can get back the mortgage from the supermarket which they paid as they bought this bottle before. These machines can identify the containers by their shapes and barcodes. Therefore, next time when you are travelling abroad, don't squeeze the bottle as you do in Taiwan!
Sweden has the highest recycling rate around the world, where there are five main categories of urban garbage bins: "colorless glass", "colored glass", "plastic bottles", "paper" and "general waste". And the input ports of which have been redesigned into a round hole for the “bottles” or into an envelope-like flat hole for cardboard box and cardboard so that the public will hardly throw the garbage into the wrong bins and also as an alternative idiot-proof mechanism for passengers. Household wastes are divided into to "combustible", "non-combustible", "paper packaging", "paper", "glass (colored/colorless)," "metal products", "food waste", "waste lamps, batteries" and so on.
In the 1960s, Sweden began to promote the "Vacuum Garbage Pipe Auto Collection System" to dispose household wastes. Many large-scale garbage transport pipelines were buried underground and the garbage bins on the ground are divided into three categories: "food waste", "combustible" and "recyclable". Once these bins in the community or on the streets are full, the system will automatically transport the garbage through underground pipelines to the waste disposal plants on the outskirts of the city, which can turn the waste disposal under the ground.
In order to protect our only earth, countries all over the world have attached great importance to recycling and waste sorting. In addition to promoting recycling and waste sorting, many governments have also tried to reduce the amount of garbage through different taxation. For example, the Swedish government levies garbage tax monthly based on the amount of garbage. The French government levies garbage disposal tax in the property tax. In Taiwan, the garbage disposal fees will be levied with the water charges in the areas where the garbage bags are not additionally charged. All above are based on the intention that people want to minimize the expenditures so that they will naturally sort the wastes properly, which cannot only improve the recycling rate of resources but also reduce the amount of garbage proactively. If we can sort the wastes scientifically and recycle and reuse the resources effectively, we cannot only improve the value of the wastes, but also reduce the harm to the environment. In this way, the goal will be gradually achieved that all wastes can be recycled, and no waste is discarded.