With the "out with the old, in with the new" Lunar New Year just around the corner, Taiwanese around the nation are actively making over their homes and offices to ready them for Lunar New Year celebrations.
The Environmental Protection Administration (EPA) has designated tomorrow to Feb. 4 as "National Cleaning Week," saying that it would assist local environmental protection bureaus in ensuring all neighborhoods enjoy a clean and pleasant start to the Year of the Rat.
Besides the giving and receiving of red envelopes, eating dinner at a round table [which represents "togetherness" and "wholesomeness"] and dressing in new clothes, cleaning one's house and office has always been a part of Lunar New Year celebrations in Taiwan.
"In view of the demand to dispose of old furniture and used goods and clothes, large furniture collection services will be provided by the administration free of charge during the week," said Yuan Shaw-ying (袁紹英), director-general of the EPA's department of environmental sanitation and toxic substance management.
Yuan also invited all foreigners living in Taiwan to participate in this tradition by signing up for cleaning activities hosted by their local governments.
"For those who have the time and good will to spare, the administration encourages people to volunteer for the cleaning of public areas," Yuan said.
Interested parties can contact their local Environmental Protection Bureaus.
In related news, the administration also called on Taiwanese to refrain from purchasing over-packaged New Year box sets when selecting gifts for friends and family.
Degradable wrapping materials are best, the administration said, adding that packages that utilize minimal printing colors are more environmentally friendly.
The administration estimated that since the implementation of the second stage of "over-packaging regulations" on July 1 last year the nation will save around 6,900 tonnes of packaging materials annually.