There is no country with a more pressing need to adopt the circular economy than Taiwan.
In Taiwan, more than 90% of energy, fertiliser, and animal feed, and over 60% of food relies on imports. This continual dependence on imports of large amounts of energy and raw materials, as well as the waste that is created and discarded in manufacturing, does great damage to the environment. In this kind of industrialized economic model, prices and supply and demand are likely to fluctuate, making it difficult to balance continual economic growth and environmental consciousness. If we do not change the linear economy model of mining, manufacturing, and disposing, not only will it affect our competitiveness in the global market, it could pose a threat to national security.
In the past, we have always tried to tackle the problems caused by the linear economy, one issue at a time, through technology and management. In the linear mindset, we are often limited to thinking of solutions within the framework of the linear economy, thinking of new technological answers without tackling the root of the problem. With each new technological advancement to solve a problem, we create a host of other problems, much like searching for remedies for the symptoms rather than searching for the underlying nature of the disease.
The design of the circular economy takes into account economic activity, local employment opportunities, environmental ecology, and energy development. It gives Taiwan an opportunity to turn around, and an opportunity for everyone to reimagine the future. This is a chance for Taiwan to transform, to decouple resource consumption from economic growth, to surpass the competition, and even participate in designing the regulations of global economic development.
What kind of Taiwan will we leave behind for the next generation?
The most important reform for Taiwan over the next two decades is the development of a planned, systematic way to implement circular economic thinking, so the next generation can create a new economic system and build a Circular Taiwan that is zero-waste and zero-pollution.
Founder of Taiwan Circular Economy Network, Charles Huang