Field: Carbon footprint, Sustainable living, Waste reduction
Global Technical function: Information sharing
Technical Function Unit: Networking, Raising awareness
Geographic Area: Taiwan
Type of actors: Citizens, Consumers, NGOs

The Environmental Protection of Tzu Chi Foundation

Tzu Chi Foundation, established in 1966 in Taiwan, contributes with over one million members to social services, environmental protection, medical care, education and humanism around the world. With the efforts of 5,463 recycling stations together with 80,000 volunteers in Taiwan, its goal is to reduce the use of resources.

The challenge

After suffering several severe natural disasters, people in Taiwan have grown more eco-conscious. In August 1990, Dharma Master Cheng Yen, the founder of Tzu Chi Foundation, made a public appeal for environmental protection by calling for people to voluntarily recycle. This call has led to the establishment of numerous Tzu Chi recycling stations across Taiwan.

It is estimated that every year up to 4 billion PET bottles are consumed in Taiwan, with this number continuing to increase.. Unless the appropriate measures are taken, a serious man-made problem will be created. In addition to raising awareness of consumers, the volunteers in Tzu Chi Foundation also set an example by personally taking part in the resource recycling. 

The network

Tzu Chi Foundation is dedicated to environmental protection. As one of the largest NGOs in Taiwan, the action of this charity mission is supported by volunteers who believe in the importance of this cause and also from citizens’ cash donations.

Furthermore, among the volunteers at the recycling stations are often people who are not part of the general working population because of age or disabilities. Such dedicated volunteers help out regularly at the recycling stations. Contributing to the important societal work of protecting the environment is a fulfilling task for these individuals. . Therefore, the Tzu Chi Foundation demonstrates its responsibility while also reducing waste.

The benefits

For the countless PET bottles which are collected and sorted in Tzu Chi rubbish recycling stations throughout Taiwan, this  “rubbish” is sent to DA.AI Technology Co., Ltd and turned into “gold”. DA.AI was founded by 5 of Master’s disciples in December 2008. It is Taiwan’s first non-profit company dedicated to producing products and one of the world’s first non-profit companies which donates 100% of its net proceeds to the charity, the Tzu Chi Foundation. DA.AI has designed a wide variety of textile products. In particularly, Gray Eco Blanket which is well-known worldwide.

As an environmentally friendly product, the Gray Eco Blanket of DA. AI is derived from dope dyed 100% recycled polyester yarn. Its colour basically originates from the addition of colour chips in the process of spinning instead of traditional dyeing process. This is why it is called “Gray” Eco Blanket. Roughly 78 recycled PET bottles can be reproduced to be one Gray Eco Blanket.

Further deployment

The volunteers in Tzu Chi Foundation collect, clean and sort out the recycled PET bottles so that they can be utilised to be the raw materials for blankets. Tzu Chi in itself is a charity organisation, so the blankets are mostly used for global disaster relief missions instead of being used for sale. By June 30, 2014, Tzu Chi volunteers worldwide had given away over 812,280 blankets to disaster victims in nearly 30 countries.

Consequently, Tzu Chi Foundation is successful not only in solving the problem of the overused PET bottles but raises awareness of sustainable living achievement and sharing information as regards waste reduction. Since the concept has been deployed successfully, the maturity level is estimated to be 9 on the GML scale.

 

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