Sat, Apr 25, 2009 - Page 2 News List

Cities cut down on waste by opening second-hand shops

NEED SOMETHING? At the Forest of Treasure in Taichung City, visitors can take an environmental workshop and shop for affordable, used furniture

By Meggie Lu  /  STAFF REPORTER

The Environmental Protection Administration (EPA) Thursday praised a furniture refurbishing center established after the 921 Earthquake in Taichung and said another 18 cities and counties had established or were planning refurbishing centers to restore and sell thousands of tonnes of would-be waste.

At the Forest of Treasure in Taichung City, visitors can take an environmental workshop, tour a furniture museum or buy second-hand furniture. The facility was established after the 2001 quake to help people refurnish their homes, Taichung City Environmental Protection Bureau director Lee Li-te (李立德) said.

“Originally [it] was formed as an exchange center for people needing various resources for their homes, but because it was so popular, the center expanded into a full-scale park in 2005 and we added do-it-yourself and environmental workshop classrooms,” Lee said.

Furthermore, sales have improved as consumers tighten their belts, he said.

“We have received about 30 percent more business than usual in recent months, following the onset of the global economic downturn,” he said.

Lee said that in addition to people just looking for a good bargain — a Winnie the Pooh stuffed animal costs NT$20 and refurbished bikes can be bought for NT$200 — antique dealers also frequent the center on the lookout for more unusual finds.

EPA Inspector General Chang Hoang-jang (張晃彰) said that following the example of Taichung, another 18 cities and counties had opened or were working on centers to refurbish and sell second-hand goods.

“The Taichung center recycles 350 tonnes of waste per year and generates NT$5 million [US$150,000]. We estimate that in 2012, when all these centers are up and running, we can refurbish 73,000 tonnes of waste per year and generate NT$200 million in revenue,” Chang said.

The materials recycled can save 100,000 trees and reduce carbon emissions by around 170,000 tonnes a year, Chang said.

To learn more about the Taichung center, visit tcepb.gov.tw/relove/index.asp.

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