The Musical Garbage Trucks of Taiwan

taiwan-mapI’ve lived in many cities in the US, but trash collection is pretty much the same. You find out what your collection day is (which day of the week), and on that day of the week, you take your trash out to the curb to be collected sometime during that day by the trash trucks.

When I first came to Taiwan, I lived in an apartment, where we took our trash to the basement of the complex and sorted it into assorted bins and containers. I had to have a student go downstairs with me and help me translate the Chinese signs, so that I knew where glass, plastic, and paper went. You would think that I could tell by what was already in the containers, but not so much. Some of the tenants weren’t very good about sorting their trash. But there were a couple of women who went and sorted and packaged up the trash from the basement and met the trash truck each day. Also, three nights a week, a second truck comes behind the garbage truck. It’s a white recycling truck. It doesn’t have music, but it has a spoken message. (It’s in Chinese, so I don’t know what it says.)

During my second year in Taiwan, I moved to another apartment where each tenant takes out their own trash and deposits it into the trucks. Six nights a week — at approximately 6:50, the trash truck comes right to the front of our apartment complex. Sometimes, it’s a tad later, but by 7:10, it’s been here to collect our trash. The trash trucks announce themselves with music. That’s your signal to head downstairs.

I should warn you about the music. It’s a certain kind of music that lasts for a certain duration and then can loop endlessly as the truck drives through the city, announcing its arrival to those who want to deposit trash. There are two main songs that are used — the one in the video below and —


the other one below. Let’s just say Beethoven would not be happy.



Taking trash out in Taiwan is much different from anywhere else I’ve lived, but this has been an easy adjustment to make. We don’t have to remember when trash day is. We can choose the trash day we want. It’s so convenient.  It’s easy. It’s especially easy because my husband has taken over taking out the trash. ❤

I hope you enjoyed this little piece of Taiwan trivia.