Calls for garbage sorting have brought little progress in China in the past decade, but Shanghai is leading a fresh start for the world’s second-largest waste producer with its new municipal solid waste regime, observers have said. China generated 210 million tonnes of MSW in 2017, 48 million tonnes less than the US, according to the World Bank’s What a Waste database.
Household waste in the city is now required to be sorted into four categories: wet garbage (household food), dry garbage (residual waste), recyclable waste and hazardous waste. General rubbish bins that had previously taken all types of household waste were removed from buildings. Instead, residents were told to visit designated trash collection stations to dispose of different types of waste during designated periods of the day.
Companies and organisations flouting the new rules could be fined 50,000-500,000 yuan (US$7,000-70,000), while individual offenders risked a fine of 50-200 yuan.