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Circular Economy Design Principles Gaining Ground in Taiwan’s Private Sector

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A circular economy is definitely no easy task. It will take a lot more than one single individual to make a sustainable economy happen. Knowing the huge challenge, Taiwan’s companies are finding unique ways to implement it by design. Local companies are stepping up to the plate when it comes to helping the country achieve a circular economy.

For instance, visitors to New Taipei City’s Fu Jen Catholic University Hospital (FJCUH) were surprised to see a whole new ward in the building in 2021 to address the growing demand for inpatient care.

A Taipei City-headquartered company created a Modular Adaptable Convertible (MAC) ward that uses a Circular Economy Design (CED) principles in partnership with FJCUH, the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Taipei-based Taiwan Design Research Institute (TDRI). The mobile system is engineered to quickly transform space into wards as varied as intensive care units and isolation rooms.

The MAC ward is a concept that can be used to relieve operational COVID-19 pandemic pressures and tackle the growing backlog of elective care as hospitals around the world urgently need extra bed capacity. This type of CED approach has been gaining traction in business and policy to address environmental threats while delivering economic benefits.

The pandemic has brought significant challenges to many sectors including health care.  We can use CED to solve problems while making positive social contributions said an industry leader. Further, he explained that all MAC ceilings, joints and walls are made from recycled materials and the building kit is designed for easy transport and fast assembly.

The company also built another landmark, the EcoARK, the world’s first fully functional, large-scale building made from recycled polyethene terephthalate (PET) bottles. Made in 2010 at Taipei Expo Park, it was designed to harness light and air and therefore minimise energy consumption. As described, EcoARK has lower carbon emissions and construction costs, making it a great alternative building. Plus, it encourages the public to recycle PET bottles instead of throwing them away as they can see a practical application.

The company also invented the TRASHPRESSO, an autonomous mobile recycling machine for plastics. The device enables plastics to be washed, sorted, shredded, softened and moulded into valuable materials and useful products.

Another Taiwanese company is contributing to the circular economy by advising other companies on how to make things happen. Since 2014, the company has worked with clients from private industries and government agencies on ESG solutions and environmental initiatives. The company empowers businesses and individuals to put CED into action by offering consultancy services and solutions while educating the public through exhibitions, training courses and workshops.

A Taiwanese enterprise masterminded a major brand’s recycling programme for electronic waste such as batteries, laptops, mobile phones and tablets collected at convenience stores.

The circular design is integral to true digital transformation. It is the best way to think long term to make the most of technology that benefits everyone. For instance, the country has been able to use an iBus app that allows commuters to know how much space is on a bus without having to board it. In short, technology promotes social distance. A bike-sharing programme in the country is another example where digital technology can be used for greater sustainability.


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