A Glimpse into How Taiwanese is Saving the World with Circular Design

16 July 2020 1719 views

At present, more than half of the world’s population lives in cities who consume about 75 percent of the world’s energy and account for more than 80 percent of global carbon emissions. It is an inconvenient truth global warming is caused by our daily actions.

Today, the term “Climate Change” is nothing new. It is one of the complex challenges that people worldwide are exploring ways to come up with a solution. Among the solutions we repeatedly hear is the Circular Economy, which emphasizes a circular model of make, use, and return. It can apply to the clothes we wear, household appliances we use, food we eat or even houses and tall buildings.

Taiwan is another country that seeks to transform into a circular economy. We have got a chance to attend the “2020 Circular Design Exhibition: Design or Disaster”, which this year came with a theme of Circular Design. The exhibition has presented eco-friendly innovations and featured 40 circular design cases intended to offer long-lasting, sustainable, and manageable options. Today, we are introducing some real-life examples that have taken place in Taiwan.

  • Glass Bottle Recycling Service Waste separation has become a usual practice and individual responsibility in Taiwan. The country has run a robust waste separation and recycling where its glass bottle recycling effort is one of the success stories. Taiwan Tobacco & Liquor Corporation (TTL) has motivated people to trade a used glass bottle for 3 NTD. Even though it may seem like a small amount of money, this effort helps improve the glass bottle recycling rate to 97.65%, or about 290 million bottles were recycled in 2018.

  • The W Glass Project Taiwan is a country of bubble tea. As a result, it comes with enormous piles of plastic cups and straws generated from bubble tea drinking. Spring Pool Glass Industries Corporation, a glass collector and recycler in Hsinchu City, has launched the “The W Glass” project to develop a 100% recyclable tea cups and straws based on traditional glassworks which has been preserved for more than 50 years. These recyclable tea cups and straws are put to use in many branches of the Taiwanese style bubble tea brand “Chun Shui Tang.”

  • PaperLab All office workers know fully well that paper has created a big pile of rubbish in the office. Epson Taiwan has recognized the problems and invested in developing the PaperLab, a dry-process system that turns waste paper into new paper using the process of defibrating, binding, and forming.

  • Good To Go Waste from Food packaging is undeniably problematic and close to home. Packaging items, including paper boxes or plastic cups, are mainly generated from consumption at beverage stores. Using a personal cup can solve the problem but, understandably, some people find it inconvenient to carry around and keep it clean. And some stores have the policy for not accepting personal cups. Good to Go is initiated by two Taiwanese women who have a strong intention to solve the problem with the rental cup platform. This project allows us to rent a reusable cup and carry it around. Once we finish our drink, we can return the cup at the participating shops. These reusable cups will later be cleaned for the next use.

These are some examples of the designs and concepts in alignment with Circular Design. Some ideas need to harness advanced technology to help turn the concept into reality. But some ideas only require small changes in our daily habits. Now, it is up to us as individuals to come together and save the earth.

The article’s content is courtesy of the  ‘2020 Circular Design Exhibition: Design or Disaster’ organized at Songshan Cultural and Creative Park between 22 February to 14 June 2020 in Taipei, Taiwan. The exhibition is co-organized by the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Taiwan Design Research Institute.




Phanuphan V.


A graduate student in Urban Governance in Taiwan who has a particular interest in public space and urban design for arts and cultural aspects.



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