Taiwan’s Musical Garbage Trucks



What may seem ordinary and familiar to people where they live can be surprising to those who don’t. Take Taiwan’s way of dealing with its residents’ trash. On the small, densely populated island, most families live in apartments and don’t have trash cans next to their houses for the garbage trucks to pick up once a week. Instead, the government has implemented what’s commonly known in Taiwan as a “trash that doesn’t touch the ground” system, and to newcomers it can be mind-boggling. Trucks appear nightly, alerting people to their arrival with a jingle that’s similar to that of American ice cream trucks. Popular tunes include Beethoven’s “Für Elise” and Tekla Bądarzewska-Baranowska’s “A Maiden’s Prayer.” Residents gather on the streets with their bags of trash and have to toss them into the garbage trucks themselves. The system not only meets the garbage needs, but is entertaining as well.