Tuesday, February 17, 2009


So, Taiwan recycles pretty much everything but toilet paper. Which is a good thing. The garbage trucks come twice a day, and there is a garbage truck followed by a recycling truck, and everyone just comes out and hands their garbage up. Unless you live in a big apartment building like me, then you have a dumpster!

But you can apparently sell recyclables too, so there's a cottage industry of really old people who roll around a cart, or a bicycle with recyclables strapped to it. They tend to walk down the middle of busy streets against traffic. I guess they figure if they're 80 years old and picking up garbage, they don't have too much to live for?

(I promise there's an old person behind all that!) Some people say Taiwan doesn't have much of a pension/ social security system, so they have to collect recyclables. Others say it's just a way for them to get out of the house. I really don't know.

The thing is, the ladies at my apartment building have it all worked out. No walking the streets with precarious bundles for them. They just sit on the bench, drinking tea and waiting for someone to bring their recyclabes out. Then they sometimes fight over them. When I first moved here, I would always have them fighting in Taiwanese about who got my stuff. And they would like try to get me to give it to them, and I was like, I don't understand Taiwanese. But I think they worked things out so now the one lady usually gets it. But I usually take my recyclables out at night now so I don't have to deal with them. :)

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