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Public-Private Collaboration for Garbage Bin Design


The New Taipei City Government collaborated with Taiwan RE-THINK Environmental Education Association (also referred to as RE-THINK) and Citibank to redesign the garbage bins in the public space located on the B1 level of the New Taipei City Hall. The garbage bins were rearranged, and clear instructions were added to help the public understand resource recycling and sorting, increase the accuracy of garbage sorting, reduce the workload of the cleaning staff, and allow for recyclable items to be reused more effectively.

According to the Environmental Protection Department, most public spaces only have a bin for combustible waste and another bin for noncombustible waste because of space limitations. The Re-THINK team proposed the creation of the first creative recycling demonstration spot in Taiwan. The site and the funding for the site were provided by the Secretariat of the City Hall and Citibank, respectively. Subsequently, the Re-THINK team decided to redesign the garbage bins in the public space located on the B1 level of the New Taipei City Hall.

The redesign steps are as follows. First, sorting categories for common types of garbage (e.g., kitchen waste and paper containers) were established. Second, simple illustrations were added to facilitate information delivery. Third, special lid shapes were designed for the redesigned garbage bins to prevent unsorted and domestic garbage.

In contrast to conventional metal garbage bins, the redesigned ones are wooden bins that exhibit artistic designs. Wall posters were designed to convey the perspective of cleaning staff to attract the public to read them. The slogan "You decide the fate of the garbage" was used to instill a sense of mission among the public.

In the 2022 Taiwan Recycling Awareness Survey conducted by RE-THINK, more than 60% of the respondents indicated that the poor design of garbage bins (e.g., unclear recycling instructions, different sorting rules for different places, and lack of sorting categories) was the main reason why they could not sort their waste correctly. To address this problem, the RE-THINK team adopted the "sorting from source" strategy. Thus far, the experimental results indicate that the redesigned garbage bins have increased the public's garbage sorting intention from 41.9% to 87.8% and their recycling accuracy rate from 26% to 53%.

This project was funded by Citibank. Since 2021, Citibank has been promoting recycling space makeovers for its offices, thereby increasing Citibank's sorting accuracy rate by 39%. In addition, Citibank released its ESG report for three consecutive years to align itself with the sustainable development goals of the United Nations through concrete actions.

Cheng Ta-wei, the Director of the Environmental Protection Department, indicated that the Environmental Protection Department is committed to supporting recycling space makeovers and assisting communities and apartment buildings to implement resource recycling. It also established the Recyclable Item Easy Search website, which provides information on the disposal of commonly used composite materials. Currently, the website provides information on 21 disposal categories and 30 disposal methods, and its database is still being expanded to increase its ability to handle public inquiries.

From left to right: New Taipei City Gov. Secretariat Director-General Yao Chingyu, Environmental Protection Dept. Commissioner Cheng Ta-wei, RE-THINK CEO Huang Zhi-yang (Jason), Citibank Taiwan Goverment Affairs Division Chief Yin Nai-hsin (Nancy)

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