Where do you source all of your water bottles?
Taiwan, where we source all of our post-consumer water bottles, used to be called “Garbage Island". A small island nation of 23 million people, the government saw the danger of ignoring the problem, and through widespread change has transformed Taiwan into a world leader in recycling, with 55% of waste being recycled (as opposed to 35% in the US).
Recycling is a community affair in Taiwan. Each night people gather to sort their waste into containers as a community — recyclables, food waste, and garbage. Rather than leave, they stay and talk until the trucks come and pick it up, turning what could be a tedious affair into a connective one.
Programs and volunteer groups have sprung up all over Taiwan to help bring this community spirit outside of city centers. We spent time documenting the Tzu Chi Foundation, which sets up micro-recycling centers in rural areas across Taipei. Run mostly by retired people, they set up drop-off points to both give people access and education to recycling, and to promote environmental stewardship in their free time.