Taiwan recycling boom puts Hong Kong to shame

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    Article here begs the question: What the hell's wrong with Hong Kong, that can't do likewise?

    Now, Taiwan is experiencing a different kind of boom. Recycling firms, which have grown in number from about 100 in the 80s and 90s to more than 2,000 at present, are turning heaps of waste into billions of dollars.

    Taiwan’s Industrial Development Bureau at the Ministry of Economic Affairs stated that recyclers earned $2.2 billion in revenue last year, up from $840 million a decade ago.

    “Trash is valuable [in Taiwan] – the byproduct of a world now dependent on technology,” said The New York Times. “Taiwan, which is home to a host of technology companies like Asus, Acer and HTC, produces more electronics per capita than any other country.”

    Many of Taiwan’s recycling companies specialize in separating precious metals from consumer electronics – a practice that can literally transform garbage into gold. One company claimed that it could extract 99.99 percent pure gold from discarded electronic equipment.

    Between 1997 and 2011, the Taiwanese government was able to slash daily household waste accumulation from 1.14 kg to a mere 0.43 kg. Over that same period, the national recycling rate exploded from 5.87 percent to more than 60 percent – making Taiwan one of the world’s top recyclers and a leader in pro-environment policy for the Asia Pacific.

    “Taiwan used to be an island with serious air pollution and garbage problems,” Environmental Protection Administration (EPA) Minister Stephen Shu-hung Shen told Taiwan Today. “But it now stands as an example of what can be achieved through the implementation of advanced waste management practices.”


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