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New bins for sorting waste in Shanghai
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Residents in Shanghai were given new garbage bins yesterday to help them reduce waste and recycle more.

Four categories of bins will be provided to 1,000 residential communities by the end of the year, the Shanghai administration on city appearance and environmental sanitation said.

There new bins are color-coded to help people sort their waste: Yellow for glass; orange for hazardous household waste, such as batteries and pharmaceutical waste; blue for other recyclables like paper and plastic; and green for food waste.

The city aims to promote the green move to 60 percent of its residential areas next year, and 70 percent by 2010 when it hosts the World Expo, officials said.

Yu Haifeng, a spokesman for the administration, said there was no standard for the collection of household garbage in the past.

"Categories like organic or inorganic, dry or wet, recoverable or non-recoverable are simply confusing and ineffective in helping people separate waste," he said.

The new bins have been introduced to plug such gaps by displaying explanations and pictures of each category, Yu said.

"We have also separated glass from the rest of the garbage because the city has made progress in recent years in its glass-recycling industry," he said.

Residents in the city generated an average of 19,000 tons of household trash a day last year, official figures showed.

Encouraging people to sort their garbage before it is collected is an effective way to reduce waste and make better use of resources, the spokesman said.

Eight cities, including Beijing, Shanghai and Hangzhou, introduced similar pilot sorting systems in 2000.

Not everyone in Shanghai is thrilled with the scheme, however.

"Sometimes I find it troublesome to sort the trash," Yao Yun, a Shanghai resident, said.

"I really have no idea whether certain things are recyclable or not."

But Yu was pragmatic.

"Old habits may die hard," he said.

"But through the introduction of such sorting methods, we hope residents' awareness of the need to save resources will be heightened."

(China Daily, February 22, 2008)

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