Legislators seek unified approach to garbage

Local legislators are calling for regulations on the management of domestic waste with a unified standard on sorting and system of rewards and penalties for residents.

City legislators are calling for regulations on the management of domestic waste to set a unified standard for garbage sorting and a system of rewards and penalties for residents.

A proposal filed by 13 legislators also said kitchen waste should be used to make organic fertilizer and waste packaging should be recycled.

Li Ming, a deputy to the Shanghai People’s Congress’s Yangpu District delegation and also initiator of the proposal, told Shanghai Daily the waste problem should be solved step by step and the first step should be separating wet waste from dry and recycling both.

“We should work out a better way to tackle 'environment-unfriendly' packaging rather than just burning or burying it,” Li said. "Meanwhile, residents should work together to prevent Shanghai from becoming a 'waste island'."

Shanghai’s garbage sorting history could be traced back to the 1990s, the proposal noted. In 1995, a residential community in Putuo District introduced a fermentation machine from Japan and started to sort and process household waste. With the machine, each 10 kilograms of organic waste could become a kilogram of fertilizer.

The city’s greenery and sanitation authorities also released plans on domestic waste sorting, collecting and treatment. By last year, the local government had issued regulations on domestic waste transport, sorting, kitchen waste management and construction waste management.

Although the city has done a lot of work in tackling household waste, it still had some way to go, the proposal said.

It suggested the Shanghai People’s Congress introduce a law to standardize domestic waste management. A unified standard should be applied on garbage sorting, the proposal said.

It also suggested charging people based on the amount of garbage they throw away. The charge would be less if the garbage was sorted before being thrown out. 

The legislators also proposed to process wet waste directly in communities with waste processing facilities.

They said the increasing amount of packaging as the result of the boom in online shopping should be recycled. And it was suggested delivery companies offer customers eco-friendly packaging that was bio-degradable.

While online shopping and home delivery offered convenience, Li said, "we are consuming the resources of the Earth."

A resource recycling system should be built up with more waste recycling stations, especially in shopping malls, supermarkets, food markets and convenient stores, the proposal said.

Plastic waste should be reduced with a law to control the use of plastic items such as bags, and boxes.

Individuals or organizations who fail in garbage sorting, disposal, collecting and transport and ruin the environment should be punished, while residents who do well in garbage sorting could get rewards such as commodities or park tickets by gaining points in their "green account," an eco-credit system which should be promoted across the city. Children should be taught about the importance of garbage sorting in school. 

A unified standard on garbage sorting is required because the current garbage bins on streets, which were produced in different times, had different sorting categories. That may cause a mix at waste collection stations, said Wu Jiansheng, another legislator from the same delegation.

“An intelligent monitoring system with the use of Big Data, which has been applied in local transport, could also be used in the management of garbage sorting and connect to people's credit records,” he added.

According to a work report by the Standing Committee of the Shanghai People's Congress released on Thursday, it has begun to investigate legislation in the management of domestic waste sorting.

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