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Recycling Plan Pushed Into High Gear

The Chinese Government recently hatched a plan to recycle industrial and family waste and, in the process, yield 55 billion yuan (US$6.62 billion) a year within five years.

The State Economic and Trade Commission's plan would carry out China's sustainable development strategy and protect the environment.

The five-year blueprint, which took effect last year, sets annual targets in several areas.

Examples include recycling up to 37 million tons of used steel and iron; 2 million tons of waste nonferrous metal; up to 6 million tons of garbage plastic; and 17 million tons of used paper.

Other targets include taking back 800,000 knocked-down cars and trucks and collecting at least 80 percent of waste electronic appliances and computers.

According to the commission, with rapid economic and social development and enhanced quality of life, production of renewable wastes has been increasing in recent years.

Commission official said China has already made rapid progress in conserving resources.

"We have already set up a nationwide network to collect and recycle those wastes," said Liu Xianfa, a commission official.

Statistics indicate that 1.4 million Chinese recycle resources. China has more than 5,000 waste-collecting firms and 3,000 waste treatment factories.

In 2000, about 50 million tons of renewable waste resources worth 45 billion yuan (US$5.42 billion) were recycled.

But problems remain; many used items have yet to be recycled, Liu said. They are valued at up to 35 billion yuan (US$4.2 billion) nationwide.

Each year, 5 million tons of steel and iron, 200,000 tons of nonferrous-metal and 14 million tons of paper are not reused.

The State will make an effort to reduce those numbers, Liu said.

"Some people still do not realize the importance of recycling, and that is another big problem," Liu said.

Massive publicity campaigns, education and training will be introduced, Liu said.

(China Daily January 21, 2002)

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