“One man's trash is another man's treasure.” 2015-04-23
“One man's trash is another man's treasure.”
Among the many features that made Taiwan be one of the greatest countries to live at is the clothing shopping paradise. The night markets are packed with stores that offer cheap fashion and even when that amazing blouse you bought lasted only  three washes, for the price you paid it is an easily replaceable item. However, most of the time some of those garments, on mint condition,  will remain sitting on a corner of your closet, forever forgotten until it is time to clean and take them out, followed by a list of excuses you make to keep them in there but deep inside you know it will never see the light again.
To dispose of this bag of the now unwanted clothing can be a burden, but Taiwan brings you a set of options to have someone in need to use them. Below is the list of the main clothing recycling initiatives, a list that keeps growing and innovating thanks to the effort of some conscious citizens.
1. Green public recycling boxes
Those large green containers you keep encountering while you stroll around the residential areas of the city are not an odd landscape decor, but they are the boxes of the goodwill program to help organizations who work with physically challenged persons to collect clothing that they will later sort out and re-sell the clothes. The government makes and allocate these containers among the organizations that apply for them at the city’s Social Affairs bureau.  
On these boxes you can put any clothing item, including bed linen, curtains, top and bottom garments and also shoes for all ages and gender. A necessary requirement for the items you put in the box is that they should be in a good condition and there is no limit for the amount of items you can put inside, so it is a common situation to have the boxes flooding with clothes and some extra bags and boxes placed next to the container. The collecting truck will come at least once a week to empty the green boxes and the other items laying next to it.
Convenient and easy, the green public recycling boxes are the best alternative to offer a helping hand and do it on a more frequent basis. Besides, someone else will appreciate your great dress style.
2. Free markets
The overconsumption on the modern societies is an on-going issue which has an impact that spreads to many areas. To reduce this impact, various countries started to use a new way of trading commodities, introducing to us the concept of the free market. On these markets, you take items in good condition that you own but don’t want to anymore, display them for the public to see, and anyone attending can take them back home. On a similar way, you also stroll around the other “vendors” of the market and pick the available items that you like the most.
Like a treasure hunting adventure, there are endless possibilities of the things you can find in there. Vintage photographs, your new favorite purse, a collage poster with an spaghetti-head man and what not. A participant of the market can discover who may have a similar odd taste, and also can get to strike a conversation with others, in regards of their goodies. Who could think helping the planet by reusing and sharing will be this much fun?
There are many free market events happening around Taipei, and they are usually hosted at the parks of the city. From my experience, I can recommend you to gather stuff with some friends and spend a nice afternoon chatting with them and others at the park. The events are done mostly once a month, and some of them offer information in English. Perhaps the largest event, the Taipei’s Really Really Free Market, is organized by a foreigner, Ellery Hamman. You can join their Facebook group and follow the updates on their events.
3. Direct donations to various religious organizations
If you would like to make a direct donation to those in most need or have a religious motivation behind your goodwill, our suggestion is to take those donated items to the various religious organizations. Most of the Catholic churches, for example, will gather the items for disaster relief. Another good option is the Tzu Chi Buddhist organization, which has many branches around the island. You can visit their website to find the nearest office.
Whether if you feel benevolent or you just want to get more free room to put more clothes, these three options are the best for you and others. Your hand owns will be well-received by a person in need. Just remember to give out only the good condition clothing pieces. Don’t hesitate it and better start cleaning up those closets.