Taipei and Zero Waste

I’m now in Taipei pondering the meaning of life and all that… okay, I’m really just eating all the street food and walking around. Here’s what I’ve found the city to be like in terms of sustainability.

Recycling Bins Everywhere

There are no lack of bins for recycling, so that’s a bonus, although I’m not exactly sure what we can recycle. I generally throw snot-laden tissues into general trash, and bubble tea cups (yes I had one so far) into recycling.

Free water

As someone who regularly guzzles water like mad (although I’ve stopped drinking as much on holiday because of the availability of toilets), having water fountains everywhere or within close vicinity is fantastic. These are found in parks, train stations and also at banks (where you’ll need to go to exchange money). I heart this so much.

I brought a glass bottle which I’ve been refilling at the above places, and with boiled water. We’ve also drunk the water supplied from the hotel in recyclable plastic (according to them anyway).

General awareness

Bubble tea shops have signs that say give us the trash we’ll recycle it–if I understand it correctly–and bring your own reusable container in others. I’ve handed over my tumbler for orange lemon juice and milk tea and nobody has said no. I got a three cent discount at one place because of it.


After stepping into at least ten UFO catcher machine shops, I’ve noticed that they have a sign that says you have to pay to get a plastic bag from them. And their bags are pretty huge so you’d probably be able to stuff a large stuffed toy into it. We just put them into our bags.

Bring your own cutlery and containers for food, and then wash it out in the hotel sink or public toilet if you bring some soap with you. I brought a glass Tupperware and put two servings of beef and one of oyster mushrooms in it one evening at Raohe night market.

Both vendors didn’t have a problem with it. It was just slightly difficult to wash cleanly in the hotel sink but I think I did an okay job. Carrying it around was additional weight that my back protested against, so I left it in the hotel room most of the time though.

Other things

I refuse to take receipts and plastic bags when unnecessary. Bought two Skinfood cushion compacts and stashed them in my bag.

I’ve used up the existing toiletries that we brought from Singapore. Those that can be recycled will be put in the recycle bin; the rest have been tossed.

I wasn’t always successful in using my own tumbler and container, mainly due to a fear that they would think I was weird. It’s typically later in the day where I’ve mustered up the courage to get them to fill my tumbler. I did throw away a number of things and not recycle them properly, so I’m not entirely perfect–I was probably only “zero waste” 50 per cent (if that).

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