Text by: Yting Wang/ Senior Engineer of Software Design,DRC

In 2013, when the film “Beyond Beauty – Taiwan from Above" was released by Zeppelin, I was very impressed with its narration. The general idea is that our land is like a mother, giving us unlimited tolerance and letting us develop, without being able to voice out any pain. I also like to go outdoors to the nature, where I can always relax and heal myself. So I started pondering that since I took so much from Mother Earth whether I could change something by actually doing it, to give back to this mother who always tolerates us, rather than endlessly consuming her. The simplest and most effective way is to start from reduction of garbage in daily life. So, sometimes I joked that I am a filial daughter of the Mother Earth.

When going out during ordinary days, I usually bring a green folding cup with an eco-friendly straw to reduce use of disposable cups. In the beginning, I used a Mason jar with a holed lid as a normal drinking cup that I can also insert a straw into. However, the Mason jar is not easy to carry, so I usually leave it in the office and use it with the coffee bought nearby. When going out, most of those commonly used silicon-folding cups with a capacity of 800 ml can also hold takeout drinks. The folding function allows me to take it with me at any time, in case of need, and its capacity is also very large. Sometimes I even use it to hold the soup I buy.

Mason jar with a holed cover (left), silicone folding eco cup (middle, right)

When buying an eco-cup, be sure to check your drinking and carrying habits, in terms of materials or capacity. Otherwise, with an unsuitable eco-cup bought, it is easy to result in it being abandoned as waste, and it is difficult to develop a habit of using self-brought eco cups. If you are not used to drinking beverages and only drink water, it is a good choice to use a thermos bottle. Though light and cheap, as I have the habit of drinking coffee, the plastic cup is easy to be tainted with the taste of coffee. If it is used again, the taste will be mixed with drinking water. The experience of using it is not good; it is easy to not want to use it again, which in turn used to cause waste. The glass, as mentioned above, is heavier and less portable, but it is easier to clean. At present, the most common silicon folding one is convenient to carry, but it should be cleaned immediately after use, otherwise, it will be easily tainted. By the way, some coffee shops and breakfast shops, even if they choose to eat or drink in their store, they will still give you a take-out cup. At this time, if you tell the store yourself to use the in-store cup, you can reduce the garbage and do something that show some filial piety for the mother earth.

I eat out most of the time. When I start to live without plastics, I often use a glass lunch box that has a disadvantage of not being easy to carry. After that, I had a food bag. In Taiwan, where roadside snacks are abundantly accessible, which I think it is the most convenient. In fact, I have never felt that I need to buy extra containers to avoid plastics. Later, I found that if I just buy things near my home, the existing iron pans in my home can be directly used to carry the food bought nearby. For example, they are very handy when buying crispy and salty fried chicken and stews nearby.


Take your own lunch box and take it out, it looks so delicious.

Use the food belt to buy delicious crepes, donuts, and scallion cakes

If you cook by yourself,  buying food from the traditional market reduces more plastic bags than shopping from the supermarket. For example, you can buy loosely-packed vegetables, meat, and eggs with your own box and plastic bag. You can then place them directly in the refrigerator when you return home, which makes it very convenient.

Buying loosely-packed eggs, vegetables, and meat.

In order to reduce the bottles and jars in the home, shampoo, shower gel, and dishwashing detergent are replaced by shampoo pies, soaps, and house soaps. Not only are the ingredients natural, the consumption of bottles, cans, and plastic beads that pollute the marine ecology can be avoided. I often buy from handmade soap sellers, even using leaf packaging, which is very environmentally friendly, while washing the body, but not polluting the earth. In addition, in terms of living, toothbrushes can be replaced by bamboo ones, as they are naturally decomposable. For cotton swabs, the ones with paper or the bamboo shaft for the axis can be selected for use, which can reduce the burden on the environment; and do not underestimate the toothbrush and cotton swabs, as they are the top names of marine debris and can also harm marine life.

Using the bottom of the PET bottle as the soap tray, you can prevent the soap from getting too mashy (left); unwanted mesh bags can also be used to pack soap to prevent mashing of the soap (right)

The bamboo toothbrush can be naturally decomposed.

In addition, I like outdoor sports very much, and during marathons, I will bring a folding water cup on the waist belt to pour water in to drink at the supply station, so that I would not have to take a new paper cup at each depot that end up increasing garbage. When I go to the seaside to play, I will wipe coconut oil or aloe vera cream instead of sunscreen, to avoid the damage to the sea caused by sunscreen. I will also be equipped with a kettle made of glass as a water bottle, because only hot hot water (for instant noodles) can be drawn from water dispenser at most convenience stores. By placing it in a glass container, bike riding will slowly cool it down, and then pour it into the plastic kettle for the bicycle. With this way, there is no need to buy bottled water, and purchase of bottled water that usually cause garbage from the PET materials can then be reduced.

Bring a folding cup for use during the marathon.

Bring a glass kettle with you while traveling by bicycle.

In fact, it is really difficult to stop the use of plastics 100% and not to make garbage. However, if you can easily reduce it little by little from small things in daily life and accumulate it little by little, you can leave the environment a space for recovery. As for the journey of the garbage, we can't predict where it will go and whether it is really handled and processed. Even if we recycle it, we don't know if it really can be used again. Only by reducing generation of garbage and choosing materials that cause less damage to the environment could the most effective ways there ever be. Leaving the next generation a clean and beautiful land, I think, is also the most love-giving act for them.