I have lived in Europe for study and work for about ten years. The countries I stayed for the longest time are Germany and Austria, which are role models in terms of sustainability in EU. Their efforts made for recycling and people’s environmental awareness are very impressive. When I were there, I make a wish in my mind that one day I can bring things I learn in here and contribute to my homeland.
I am fortunate enough to come back to Taiwan and find a great job that allows me to try different ideas, make our products green, and I make great friends here now.
I would say the Earth is a spaceship with limited resources and the place we stay are a room in a spaceship. Of course, we can dump trash out of the room, but they are still in the ship. No matter how dirty the room is, we cannot move to another one as we are still in the ship. The problem would not disappear. The problem will become bigger and bigger. If we want to be happier, then the most practical way is to solve the problem instead of thinking of changing the ship.
We do not have to be tree huggers, we do not need to go radical. We can try something that fits our current situation first, and then pivot along the way. I used to design and make textiles that uses coffee grounds as a material. Now I use recycled PE bottles for the same purpose. We do this not to receive another beautiful certificate, but to examine our understanding to sustainability and improve from it. For instance, we would like to know specifically how much amount of energy is consumed and that of greenhouse gas emitted of the product. We would also like to learn how much amount of water is consumed as well. After the product is delivered to consumers, we calculate how many times a bottle of shampoo can be used, and the amount of water is consumed during the cleaning process. Those efforts are very tiring, yet when I figure out the environmental impact in numbers, I feel satisfactory and I really learn a lot from it.
I have come a long way to achieve the things we try to accomplish, and I am willing to share to all. There are still many things I want to do, like the idea of producing textile products using textile waste in Taiwan. 150-200 thousand tons of textile waste is produced annually in Taiwan, which is a great potential to reduce waste. If this could be successful, it will be another great example of cradle to cradle (C2C).
We are about to fill up this ship with trash. I am always joking, “We are lucky not to witness the worst situation as we are old now.” Sincerely, I hope what I have done can have some positive impact, to the ship and passengers within.