Wed, Jun 25, 2003 - Page 2 News List

EPA changes tune in bid to promote national recycling


It tops the list of the nation's most instantly recognizable songs, but starting next month Mariden's Prayer will have company.

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has signed up Any Empty Bottles for Sale? (酒矸倘賣無) by Hou Dejian (侯德健) to play on all trucks collecting recyclable material and, along the way, burrow into the national consciousness just as the famous piano solo on household-waste garbage collectors did.

In addition, a rock version of the 20-year-old local favorite, arranged by Harlem Yu (庾澄慶), will be played at hundreds of fast-food chain stores across the country starting from next Tuesday.

The two artists agreed to allow the EPA to use their work for free.

"It's my pleasure to do so," Hou said yesterday at a press conference organized by the EPA. "The level of civilization in a country can partly be judged by reviewing its achievements in environmental protection."

In 1983, Hou married a segment of a Taiwanese slogan commonly used by recycling service peddlers to a major pentatonic scale, the basic scale of Chinese music. The song turned out to be one of Hou's best-loved pieces. Over the past two decades, the song has been translated into a number of different languages, including French and Japanese.

EPA Administrator Hau Lung-bin (郝龍斌) yesterday gave Hou a medal made out of recycled glass to thank him for letting the EPA use his music to promote environmental protection.

Hau said the rock arrangement will be played at 600 fast-food chain stores, where more trash cans will be installed for customers to recycle leftovers and paper containers.

Hau said the 400 million customers visiting fast-food chain stores annually were the target of the EPA's environmental education program.

"The six-month trial will be an ideal model of the cooperation between the government, the industry and the public to practice recycling on a daily basis," Hau said.

Hau said the recycling push is part of a follow-up to the EPA's policy of limiting the use of plastic bags and disposable dinning tableware.

Beginning Jan. 1 next year, officials said, the trial will become a compulsory regulation for all fast-food chain stores.

According to Chen Hsiung-wen (陳雄文), director-general of the EPA's Bureau of Solid Waste Management, 3,000 tonnes of paper tableware and 2,000 tonnes of leftover food could be recycled from stores annually.

"Paper tableware will be sent to paper factories for pulping and leftovers will be used to produce fertilizers or pig feed," Chen said.

Officials said yesterday that this year the EPA is aiming to increase low recycling rates of used batteries, fluorescent lamps and paper tableware.

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