How Taiwan changed its attitude to landfills

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Discussion posted by: David McNamara

Waste researcher Nate Maynard remembers exactly when he realised that bins were nearly impossible to find in Taiwan’s capital city, Taipei. He first came to Taiwan in 2013 for a research trip as part of his environment masters programme. “When I arrived, the most obvious thing to me was that not only were there no litter bins, there was no litter either.” The situation was vastly different 20 years before, after accelerated economic progress saw Taiwan lauded as one of Asia’s economic tigers, along with Hong Kong, Singapore and South Korea. But the price of economic success was high. Archive news reports say that in 1979, local governments were gathering up 8,800 metric tonnes of municipal solid waste a day. By 1990, that number had hit 18,800 tonnes. In 1992, it was still climbing, at 21,900 tonnes.