How They Take Out The Garbage In Taipei

I was having dinner with Cameron from Tweak Town (who is based in Taipei) and he pointed me to something that I’ll never see in America – the garbage stop. Apparently, taking out the trash in Taipei is a lot more involved than simply walking it to your trash can.

In Taipei, the garbage truck doesn’t come to you. Instead, you go to the garbage truck. Just like we have bus stops back home, Taipei has garbage stops. People wait at these stops for the garbage truck to show up so they can dump their trash. The really funny thing is these trucks sound like an ice cream truck. Watch the video and you’ll see what I mean.

66 thoughts on “How They Take Out The Garbage In Taipei”

  1. Shawn Knight says:

    I thought Cameron was from Australia?

    1. Justin says:

      He is, however he lives in Taiwan.

      1. I found a few other videos that highlight the great differences in life here! Check out the videos 😎

    2. Hey everyone check out that awesome Entrecard flyer to the right!

      1. Terry Tay says:

        hmmmmm…I wonder who cashed their credits for that ad 😆

        Who is the girl by the way?


        1. Abdul says:

          Its using the sam picture as the commentator above you!
          Guess he/she purchased the flyover!

  2. Shawn Knight says:

    and after watching the video, isn’t that tune from the old Tetris game?

    1. Drew says:

      haha yea i believe it is tetris theme

    2. AJ says:

      lolz, i think it is

  3. LOL!

    That is cool!

  4. Joe says:

    Think of all the wasted productivity of all those people! And they still have a garbage man!

    1. Gregg Gordon says:

      Think of all the people going for a walk instead of sitting in front of the TV. Think of all the fuel and smog saved. Think of the garbage being carefully separated so that proper recycling happens and hardly any goes into the landfill.

      1. Still, I think there is some room for improvement.

  5. I think Taiwan is a small island and to keep it clean is quite difficult.
    Do you know the music is called “For Elise” by Beethoven?

    I do not know the reason why they chose that song eventhough I lived there for more than 25 years.

  6. Gregg Gordon says:

    I wouldn’t mind doing that at all here at home on a day like that; but think if taking out the garbage in the middle of a cold, pouring rain.

    1. OCGolfCourse says:

      I’m sure John can attest to that since he’s in Vancouver where it rains most of the time.

  7. Tom says:

    What an annoying garbage truck noise, sounds like my old nokia phone rington. yick.

  8. Thiago Prado says:

    I’ve seen something so funny like this garbage truck sounding like a ice truck. The people is really excited about it.

    1. OCGolfCourse says:

      Maybe it’s like the ice cream cars 🙂

  9. make150aday says:

    I m wondering if there was a hand sanitizer around. Should be…

    Interesting concept/idea.

  10. Gregory says:

    Thats… different. Lord knows I would never get my trash out though, I’d always be late 😳

    1. I agree! I regularly miss it and I just have to leave it on the side of the road. Not hang around waiting for that music:)

      1. OCGolfCourse says:

        Is that what you are supposed to do??? 🙄

  11. It seems like they are waiting for the bus to go out or something. 😆 It’s a funny way of taking ou the garbage

  12. atsa says:

    First of all, that tune is “For Elsie” by Beethoven. I think it’s used for garbage pickup for decades now. “The Maiden’s Prayer” by Badarzewska was also used. Long ago someone actually suggested the city government not use these classical tunes because associating Beethoven with garbage was not in good taste. But the residents were just too used to the tune to accept a new sound. People might not notice the garbage truck was here!

    Also, this “No Garbage on the Ground” policy was only introduced and really enforced in the last couple of years to clean up the city. Taipei City was the first to do so.

    Before that, people would dump garbage on a site, say, a street corner, preferably in the evening and the garbage truck would come and pick everything up. Problem is, some people would always break the rules and dump their garbage anytime during the day. And that made the city look really bad.

    Regardless of when people took the gargabe out, the garbage would consist of not only paper trash, but also kitchen waste or leftover food that had gone bad, and the stinky liquid in the bags would leak, or some waste would fall out when the bags were not properly tightened. Over time they left an intolerable stench there in the street.

    The authorities had to do something. Hence, the ‘no garbage on the ground’ rule. People now have to wait for the truck and throw the garbage in themselves.

    1. Interesting post anon. Thanks for setting that straight. It actually makes some good sense now.

  13. says:

    That song used by the truck is almost on every household rotating fan in Taiwan. Go figure…

    But different cities in Taiwan have different songs for their garbage trucks. 😮

    I remember when my brother and I were young and visited family Taiwan for the first time. We thought we heard an ice cream truck (like back in the US) and sprinted towards the catchy song with our pocket change held in hand ONLY TO FIND A GARBAGE TRUCK! 👿 Damn, damn, damn….

    It was the SAME, EXACT SONG as the ice cream truck in our neighborhood too! SAME EXACT SONG! Talk about serious disappointment with high hopes about buying ice cream! 😥


    1. And I thought I was the only person who thought it was an icecream van selling 99’s and coke!


    2. Terry Tay says:

      That kind of reminds me of the Eddie Murphy stand up comedy routine from “Delirious” where he talks about chasing the ice cream man. It’s old but Very funny stuff!

      1. says:

        That is exactly how it was! Just like Eddie Murphy was talking about in “Delirious”. Only we got “punked” in Taiwan.

        Talk about culture shock…but there are so many food/drink businesses everywhere anyway (like almost every home on the block) that you can get ice cream/snacks/treats so it wasn’t a problem.

        Still, we were in awe to say the least. Imagine sprinting for ICE CREAM and you end up with rotten GARBAGE.

  14. says:

    That trash truck song is used by most household rotating fans in Taiwan!

    But different cities have different songs for their garbage trucks.

    I remember when my brother and I were younger going to Taiwan for the first time and hearing the exact same song as the ice cream truck in our neighborhood in Los Angeles County. We grabbed our pocket change and ran towards that song. We were thinking ice cream sandwiches, popsicles, strawberry shortcake bars, etc….only to find a GARBAGE TRUCK! Talk about serious disapointment! All we could get was GARBAGE!

    But yeah, it’s like a community “get together” to throw out your garbage. Atleast they’re not playing Nirvana’s “Smells Like Teen Spirit” for you to come throw out your garbage. Tunes are catchy (well, somewhat) and easy on the ears.

    It’s Taiwan. Go figure.


  15. joshuaun says:

    why this idea never shown up in malaysia????=p

  16. I feel sorry for the driver of that truck, he’s bound to go totally insane from hearing that music all day long. Christ.

  17. Desi says:

    Oh my, it’d be wonderful for Neaples, it’s sad to tell, but we’re so obtuse in Italy!!!
    Thanks for sharing, I’ll endorse the video to some famous important people (Beppe Grillo for first: over here who are fighting against the many problems in Italy 😉 !



  18. Talk Binary says:

    I couldn’t imagine waiting for the garbage truck…that’d be horrible!

    1. its not horrible but its terrible!! 😀

  19. Shams says:

    Hahahaaa hahhhhhaaaaaaaaaaaa 😈

  20. What time of day was that? or are garbage trucks making stops 24/7?

  21. Jo says:

    That is interesting. What about the poor bugger who lives far from the ‘garbage stop’, or the one whose garabge bag pops along the way? Yuk Yuk Yuk!!!

  22. Bushbaker says:

    This is great a great impromptu post. It is so great to see how other people around the world live. In today’s such uncertain times of increasing food costs and gas prices, we here in the US will have to look all over the world for best practices in conservation and recycling. In places like Taipei and other countries of less abundance, they have mastered efficiencies in ways we would never dream of. Great stuff!

  23. Wow… interesting! Never ever heard of that and probably won’t ever see that unless I visit Taipei myself.

  24. That was sound of garbage money 😛

  25. Pixelpat says:

    That is so funny, what an idea!
    It’s interesting to see how different cultures find solutions to something we all have to deal with. In San José, Costa Rica they have
    something like a metal cage a yard off the ground that people put their garbage into. I guess that solves the problem of canines tearing into the bags. These garbage cages are at the side of the road at regular intervals.

  26. Ronald Su says:

    So now we can’t complain so much about high taxes. Our benefits are way better than people in Taipei. :mrgreen:

    1. Terry Tay says:

      No, you can still complain about high taxes because so much is wasted on nothing…literally as there is always money disappearing and they don’t know what happened to it.

    2. OCGolfCourse says:

      I rather have no benefits and no taxes!!!

  27. It looks like they don’t have proper garbage bags in Taipei… only shopping/grocery bags?

    1. make150aday says:

      at least they have some bags.
      Go to other asian countries–they don’t even have bags—LOL

  28. Haha, the garbage truck just came while I was watching this video – then I realised I forgot to take the bin out 😥

    But there is always the neighbour’s bin… 😈

  29. VeRonda says:

    Wow! It really makes you thankful, even for the small things, when you see hilarious stuff like this.

  30. Hey john are you in States right noW?! ❓

  31. Mike Huang says:

    Haha, that is something I’ve never heard or seen 🙂 I think it would be a huge hassle if it was something that America required 😛


  32. Hoto says:

    2,6 million people are living in taipei and they all put their trash away like this ???? no way !!!

  33. Abdul says:

    That’s hell of a job, It would be better if the trucks would be there all the time, but waiting for them?? That’s too much

  34. That’s just really funny. But it has to take much discipline for the people there to take out trash when it’s such a mission. If that method were to be suddenly implemented in my country, my trash would pile up. Man am I glad I don’t live there.

  35. Joy Smith says:

    Wow. So they would be in luxury here! The most interesting question is, I wonder if they recycle most of their stuff and waste less garbage since it takes a lot more to take out the garbage there? Maybe the USA should adopt their ideas!

  36. Taking out the garbage looks like a nice outing for the family. What fun!

  37. Justin says:

    Very funny, we don’t have it in Quebec City 😉

  38. Binary Ant says:

    However this method is cleaner because they shouldn’t have garbage out there in the streets. If you have trash containers you could have smelly streets.

  39. AJ says:

    I wish I was excited as them when I take out my trash. But unfortunately the garbage truck is dark brown where I live and not the jolly yellow.

  40. Hi John,
    This is a very interesting blog. I like to enjoy reading it. The videos are awesome. When I was in Taipei years ago I never have seen those garbage trucks maybe because I was living in a hotel zone or maybe they came always when I was sleeping.
    But anyway I love your blogs there are written in a way you really keep reading.
    Nice work keep doing it. And the videos are very informative even for travelers like me.

    Great job

  41. John Chow is not just a money-making blogger, he’s also a great WRITER!

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