Changing China

Giant on the move

What, this old junk?

November 27, 2009

Discarded computer parts

Before the triangular symbol taught us to recycle, reduce and reuse, recycling in Taiwan worked this way:

Early morning or late at night, a man riding a tricycle trailed a small wagon and his long shadow through an alley piled with waste under a lone street light. He collected the brown glass Taiwan Beer bottles, from a wedding banquet, possibly, and placed them into his wagon. Sometimes he hollered “Empty wine bottles for sale?”

People who make a living out of recycled waste are still visible on the island of 35,000 square kilometres, crammed with a population of 23 million.

Today, plastic bottles are turned into blankets for disaster relief. The Taiwan Buddhist Tzu Chi Foundation has been collecting plastic bottles from Taipei, a city of 2.6 million, for the past three years and converting them into about 244,000 polyester blankets intended for disaster zones. Read a related story here.


As the information age welcomes higher processing speeds and flashy designs, hundreds of old computers are phased out on a daily basis in Taiwan, the island that hosts some of the world’s largest PC makers. After the very valuable gold and silver are taken out, the discarded PC boards in computers are made into beautiful sculptures at the Super Dragon Technology Inc. Read more about the computer art here.

Other appliances from televisions and refrigerators to furniture and bicycles are also neatly recycled by the government.

Photo credit: Pichi Chuang
Video credit: Ben Tai


As seen, the trash for recycle is left in open air which may be contaminated with toxic substances emitting from the stockfile, harming the neighbourhood and workers. Recycling discarded computer boards and monitors is a risky business that China has already banned import of PC wastes, Taiwan should follow suit.

Posted by Matt | Report as abusive

They are very innovative. The next step is to tap into renewable alternative energy sources. Fossil fuel is the only commodity nearly impossible to recycle by human effort


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