The first week of waste-sorting in Beijing

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Beijing recently became the second Chinese city after Shanghai to enforce mandatory domestic waste-sorting. The newly revised Beijing Municipal Waste Management Regulations came into effect on May 1st. A Xinhua report from May 8th looks at some of the problems that emerged over the first week of implementation. The regulations stipulate that residential communities and villages should set up two types of collection containers for kitchen waste and other waste in public areas, and set up containers for recyclables and hazardous garbage collection. As the report notes, efforts to raise awareness on how to sort garbage have intensified, and awareness of garbage classification has greatly improved since the regulation’s implementation.

However, the report points out that there are still some areas where improvement is needed:

a. The “throw it in whatever container is not yet full” phenomenon. Many residents still just put all their garbage in one bag, without sorting it.

b. Non-standard installation of the rubbish bins. In some old communities and alleys, due to the limited conditions and the lack of hardware facilities, the installation of the rubbish bins is not standardised, with stains making the labels illegible, or a lack of covers for the bins.

c. Insufficient staff. Many communities are not equipped with garbage-sorting instructors and sorters, and the participation of property management is insufficient.

According to the Xinhua report, the next step for Beijing’s garbage classification program will involve the following: the rubbish bins in the communities will be standardised, the bins for kitchen waste will be more concentrated, and there will be instructors on duty to keep the recycling stations clean, tidy, and intact, so that residents are willing to use them. Furthermore, renewable resource companies will be brought in to collect the communities’ recyclables and achieve waste reduction from the source, and temporary storage sites will be established for oversized garbage.