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Garbage sorting faces embarrassing situation in Beijing

2010-03-03 13:35 BJT

Apart from the costs of running the machine, the property management company also had to pay people to sort the garbage. Sanitation workers, who are employed by the property management company, sort the garbage at 7:00 am, 1:00 pm and 5:00 pm every day.

Lao Song also helps the sanitary workers sort garbage in the community. Song watches over the bicycles in the community. Because residents in the community are not good at sorting garbage, Song also picks the kitchen garbage bins from the recyclable garbage bins in addition to watching over the bicycles. It takes him more than three hours to sort these 15 garbage bins, which allows him to earn over 200 extra yuan every month. Then the sanitation department will send a sorting van very Monday, Wednesday and Friday to take the garbage bins outside the community. The van, however, has not come in recent months, and Song did not sort the garbage bins. "When garbage sorting was popular, almost half of residents sorted garbage voluntarily," said Song.

According to statistics, a community that has about 2,500 residents will have to invest almost 30,000 yuan every year to sort and recycle garbage.

According to sources, in 2000, the Ministry of Construction listed Beijing as one of the eight pilot cities for garbage sorting and collection. According to the Guide to the Garbage Sorting in Beijing, which is edited by the city's municipal administration commission, by December 2002, 265 communities, office buildings and industrial zones should be able to sort and recycle garbage, among which 108 communities and office buildings should be able to treat their kitchen garbage. In 2009, there were already 600 pilot communities in Beijing sorting their garbage.

Extended Investigation

How garbage is disposed of in Japan

At 8:00 am on the morning of a Thursday, Li Xing packed up a bag of garbage. After picking up the bag to confirm the kind of garbage in the bag, he threw it into a garbage bin beside a locust tree.

Li takes out this garbage every Thursday morning. Li is 29 years old and came to work in Japan 4 years ago. During these years, he has moved 4 times. "In Japan, after you move to a new residential community, you will receive a thick manual describing how to classify and dispose of your garbage. In Japan, you cannot throw away your garbage every day, and the garbage must be strictly classified and sorted as well. You must put your specific garbage into specific places at specific times." After Li moves to a new home, the first thing he does is study the new residential community’s garbage disposal manual. He often holds a garbage bag with his left hand and looks up the corresponding information in the manual with his right hand at the same time.

Li has lived in Japan for 4 years, and he has become quite familiar with the garbage classification system. For example, newspapers and magazines must be put into different places because they will produce different paper pulp when recycled. After drinking a box of milk, Li cuts up the milk box along the pre-marked lines on the box, wash it clean, dry it out and put it into the special milk box recycle bin beside the door of the supermarket. "These milk boxes will be used to produce facial tissues."

In the community where Li Xing lives, garbage can be dropped off before 9 am on Mondays and Thursdays. Metals, bottles, plastics and other non-biodegradable garbage can be dropped off on Monday while the biodegradable garbage including daily leftovers life, waste cloth and paper can be dropped off on Thursday morning. "Except for these two days, we are not permitted to dispose of our garbage, so the daily garbage is kept at home."

There are five trash cans in Li's home, among which three are used for holding the biodegradable garbage and the other two are used for the non-biodegradable garbage. The food leftovers must be put in transparent bags, which are biodegradable but will not produce harmful gas. Leftover oil and soap after cooking is poured with special coagulator to be solidified and can then be dropping into the trash bags. As the kitchen garbage will be sent to be burned, the bags that hold this garbage should be labeled with " will not produce harmful gas when burned."

Li thinks that the garbage sorting is very complicated, because in China, he only needs to drop the drink bottle into the can marked with "recyclable resources." In Japan, however, he is not a real protector of the environment by doing only this. Li said that in Japan, before throwing away a drink bottle, one should first strip off the colorful labeling on the bottle and then take off the cap and then finally drops them into their respective trash bags. "These things that have different uses should be put into different bags so they can be recycled. At first, I was not used to doing so but later I gradually got used to it. Like brushing my teeth and washing my face, it no longer becomes a burden."

Editor: Shi Taoyang | Source: