Rethinking Recycling: The Social and Cultural Relevance of Waste

Red Room Eco Gathering 紅房綠色生態聚會

Event Information

  • Time: Sunday August 15, 8pm 8月15日, 禮拜天,晚上8點
  • Location: Online
  • Price: This is a FREE event 本活動為免費活動

See below for COVID-19 notice

About this Event


When talking about waste, often the image that most readily comes to our mind is those of household rubbish or mass solid junk. In this picture, waste is dirty, polluting and a self-evident problem, symbolizing our alienated and abusive relation with nature, waiting to be eradicated. But this is our waste. We make it and we deal with it. That’s why, in addition to seeing it as an environmental hazard, there should be more ways to view it. After all, while we clean, discard, categorize, we become how we want to be: clean and ordered. So, to understand waste is a process of getting to know ourselves, as persons and as a society. This talk is an invitation to rethink how waste matters by exploring our relationship with waste. We will discuss the following matters : what is our waste? How do we deal with it? Who is dealing with it? Why do we do that ? A brief history of waste recycling will be introduced together with the presentation of the waste management system in Taiwan. A focus will be made on the peculiar case of Tzu-chi recycling, a Buddhism-associated, community-operated, volunteer-based national movement in Taiwan since the 1990s. The story sheds light on the entanglement between a society’s development and its waste.

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Speaker: Olivia Dung 董芸安 is a doctoral researcher at the Institute for Area Studies at Leiden University, the Netherlands. Her research project explores the cultural and sociological significance of waste and recycling. She is also the co-founder of the international platform Oranje Express 荷事生非. She is currently in collaboration to develop an online political action platform that integrates knowledge contribution with crowdfunding.

COVID-19 Information

For all Red Room Events:

Until further notice, Red Room will follow all government-recommended protocols for in-person events in order to maintain safe environments for interaction among participants. Furthermore, Red Room events are subject to cancellation based on either government stipulations or the discretion of Red Room or our facilitators.