For anyone who’s ever ventured out of Taipei and needed to go the toilet, the haunting nightmare it is to walk into a place with a used toilet paper bin all but too familiar.

The smell of rotting shit, mixed in with the unavoidable filthiness of a public toilet (a global phenomena not just localised to Taiwan) and idea that you’re trying to take a crap whilst sitting next to a pile of other people’s feces, are all powerful vomit inducing images that, since arriving in Taiwan, are permanently etched into mind.

And god help if you if the toilet has a rubbish bin without a lid…

Yes, when it comes to toilets, Taiwan is definitely a third world country.

Personally, I just can’t do it. Short of being told I’m going to mess up someones septic tank, I just can’t bring myself to touch the bins that are literally full of shit. One whiff of that public feces cocktail as the lid springs up would have me hurling all over the floor.

Thus, despite it being the norm here I continue to flush my toilet paper but unfortunately, my days might be numbered.

As far as the Taiwanese government’s concerned, I need to change my ways and embrace the communal used toilet paper bin.

Warning that the practice of flushing toilet paper can clog pipes and tanks, Taiwan’s Environmental Protection Administration yesterday urged the public to ‘dispose of tissue in trash cans‘.

With it’s booming cities and technological development, one might wonder why the EPA are calling on the nation as a whole to stink up their toilets. The answer?

Tissue paper (in Taiwan) is made with long fibers and often includes wet strength additives that help keep it from rupturing when wet, but which also make it harder to dissolve in water.

Are you kidding me? The answer seems so simple, make toilet paper freaking water soluble already!

But ohhh no, that’d be too difficult. Instead it’s much easier for the government to encourage Taiwan to bin it’s disgusting used paper because

the administration noted that if water-soluble toilet paper is flushed down the toilet, it could reduce garbage volume and foul odors, but would increase the cost of treating sewage and septic tank systems, compared with the cost of simply tackling disposed toilet paper.

…in a nutshell the government are a bunch of tightarses. Rather than upgrade Taiwan’s medieval treatment and septic tank systems, it’s easier to just continue a horrendously unhygienic and quite frankly, utterly disgusting habit of preserving your used toilet paper in a bin.

For a family this might be practical, as I imagine the bin, although stinking 24/7 would fairly frequently be emptied. But spare a thought for the couple or single.

Going to the toilet once, perhaps twice a day you’re looking at around a week minimum before your standard size bin gets emptied. And surely emptying the bin every day is going to negate any environmental or economic benefits in the long term over simply upgrading the sewerage infrastructure.

Meanwhile visitors to Taiwan will continue to be appalled by the its third world toilets. Take for example Japanese visitors to Taiwan. The Japanese, who make up Taiwan’s second largest tourist demographic are apparently

frequently distressed at the lack of clean public toilet facilities in Taiwan.

In particular, they are horrified at the sight of bathroom trash bins filled with used toilet paper.

Not only that but this disgusting habit also causes reciprocal problems
over in Japan too (Taiwan’s number 1 tourist destination);

Taiwan’s toilet culture usually shocks the Japanese, especially when Taiwanese tourists visit Japan, the most popular tourist destination.

Some Japanese restaurants that receive Taiwanese travelers have now posted notices in Chinese requesting their patrons flush used toilet paper down the toilet bowl.

Ugh, I can’t think of anything worse then having to use a toilet overseas after some Taiwanese person has tried to use the provided sanitary napkin bin to stuff their shit paper down.

The answer to this problem is easy, introduce mandatory water soluble paper and upgrade the sewerage system. I mean sooner or later it’s going to have to be done anyway – so why not start now…?

Myself and all the other users of toilets in Taiwan who currently hate using them will forever be in your debt.