Taiwan Mobile's advancement in circular economy. Circular innovation enabling creative solutions Circular Economy Business Cases Forum Turning waste fiber optic cables into rebar stirrups and brick walls, trailblazing a new path for circular economy.

November 09,2020

Taiwan Mobile hosted a "Circular Economy Business Cases Forum" on 9 November, sharing its circular innovation results of experimenting with recycled waste fiber optic cables that are linked closely to the telecommunication industry. To bring this vision to reality, Taiwan Mobile collaborated with MINIWIZ, a pioneer in providing upcycling solutions by leveraging design, engineering, and material technology, in transforming fiber optical cable waste to bespoke furniture, including coffee tables and chairs.


Several prestigious guests from the governmental and industry sectors from both Taiwan and abroad were invited to the forum, held in virtual format this year, to discuss the future and applications of circular economy. The guests included Chen Pei-li, secretary-general of the Industrial Development Bureau under the Ministry of Economic Affairs; Liu Jui-hsiang, deputy director general of the Department of Waste Management under the Environmental Protection Administration; Peter Chen, director at the CEO office of Lite-On Technology; Niven Huang, regional leader of KPMG Sustainability Services and ESG Asset Management Services in Asia Pacific; as well as Arthur Huang, chief executive officer of MINIWIZ Sustainable Energy Development; and Jeroen Cox, leader of the energy management & circular economy programs, Royal KPN N.V,. who attended the forum for the first time.


Taiwan Mobile President Jamie Lin said Taiwan is an island country, which makes it a country most suitable for the promotion of circular economy. Fiber optics are the basic infrastructure to all communication framework, he stressed. According to data compiled by the Environmental Protection Administration, Taiwan recycled 1,030 metric tons of used fiber optic cables in 2019, which amounts to nearly the weight of around 60 tanks. In the first eight months of this year, Taiwan recycled 985 metric tons of fiber optics cables , the same tallies show. However, Taiwan's capability to reuse these recycled cables is limited, Lin said, noting that the rate of reusability on these materials in Taiwan hits only around 45%.


With the goal of raising the reusability of these used fiber optic cables on mind, Taiwan Mobile focused its research on circular innovation of these cables, putting its efforts into turning these cables into materials with economic values, Lin said. Arthur Huang, Co-founder & CEO at MINIWIZ, added "through MINIWIZ and Taiwan Mobile's collaboration, we uncovered a breakthrough that will disrupt the construction building material industry by substituting steel with optical fiber waste, without sacrificing structural integrity. Furthermore, based on our research, this should create NT$22.3 billion in new business opportunities, 28% reduction in steel usage, and 3 million metric tons reduction in carbon emission or 7,786 Da’an forest parks equivalent annually.”


The research team is also assessing the possibility of using fiber optic cables in the construction of embankments, bridges, tetra pods and other exposed infrastructures because they can yield better structural strength and reduce the use of steels originally required in the aforementioned infrastructures due to their waterproof capability.