Tuesday, May 13, 2008

taking out the trash (simply taiwan 4) There are very few things I don't like about Taiwan. But, I seriously hate tossing the trash in Taiwan (and I consider hate a very strong word, so I'm not using it lightly here). At different times though out the day a trash truck will drive through every neighborhood. Each trash truck announces their presence by playing an electronic version of Beethoven’s “Fur Elise," which to the unknowing American sounds like an ice cream truck. Each neighborhood/city is a little different, but each has their own trash truck traditions. At my old house, people from two apartment complexes all gathered along the alley in front of the buildings, the trash truck stopped and literally about 100 people tossed trash into the back in about 5-10 minutes each night. We all knew that the truck would arrive at about 7:30, so at about 7:20ish people started heading downstairs and gathering out front to wait. I, however, lived on the 2nd floor near the front entrance, so I would wait till I heard the tinny melody to grab my trash and head out the door. The nice thing about that neighborhood was that about 30 minutes later another truck drove down a side street, so if I missed the 7:30 trash truck, I could meet the 8:00 trash truck. Now, the 8:00 trash truck didn't stand still. People would stand outside their "townhouse-like" homes with their trash, and as the truck slowly drove by they would toss in their trash. This phenomenon is something that can't be captured by words and photos alone, a video is necessary to help you experience this. So, without further adieu, here is a trash truck I got stuck behind while on my moped one night. I always wondered what in the world I would do if I always worked nights and could never be home to take out the trash between 7:30 and 8:00. In some neighborhoods, the trash truck comes during the day . . . and I do wonder what people who don't work from home do about their garbage. Hmmm . . . Ok, now let me just take a second to further justify my hatred for tossing trash. It is not just that I have to be responsible for taking out my trash and tossing it myself. That's ok. But is the fear that I've done something wrong and will have to dig in the trash to undo my mistake. You see, they have strict mandatory recycling polices here. And, if you throw out something that should be recycled, the garbage guys (aka trash nazis) will tear open your bag, and make you take care of it the right way. Once, right after my neighborhood started to recycle food scraps, I included egg shells in my food waste pile. I thought egg shells were supposed to be good for compost piles. Except, I later learned food scraps collected on the back of the trash trucks in blue barrels are not for composting...

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