O2O app helps upgrade recycling in China

0 Comment(s)Print E-mail China Daily, March 11, 2016
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"If all the garbage generated in Chinese cities this year were loaded on trains, the length of all the trains would equal twice that of the equator," said Chen Laying, a sanitation worker and deputy to the National People's Congress, during this year's two sessions.

Chen's voice raised one of the major problems in Chinese cities' development – the unchecked and fast rising amount of garbage which threatens the environment and human life.

As a result of rising living standards, garbage in Chinese cities has been rising at almost the same pace as the country's GDP – around 10 percent in recent years. From 1979 to 2013, the amount of garbage disposed of every year has jumped from 25 million tons to 173 million tons.

More than 90 percent of refuse with recycling value has not been recycled, according to Wang Jiwei, secretary general of China Association of Circular Economy. Most waste ends up in a landfill or incineration plant, using up large areas of land and polluting the environment, he said.


In Chinese cities, most of the recyclable garbage thrown away are either collected by scavengers who earn a meager income from the business or sold to small waste collection agencies by the owners themselves. Waste sorting is done in a random and disorganized way.

Waste sorting and collection is an unpleasant experience for many due to a lack of professional guidance and service and low profits.

"Sometimes, I have to drive my car with all the plastic bottles and piles of cardboards to waste collection agencies several blocks away, only to receive a dozen yuan," said Wu Yue, a senior Beijing resident.

"It is even worse in bad weather when going out becomes difficult for me," said the 60-year-old.

But a new O2O (online-to-offline) application has changed the attitudes of people like Wu towards waste sorting and recycling.

New platform

Ever since he began using Bangdaojia, an application that allows users to request a garbage pickup on their smart phones, Wu has been spared the effort to find waste collectors on the street or drive miles to the nearest waste collection agency.

The O2O platform also helps trash collectors locate their customers. The developer of the app, Beijing Incom Resources Recovery Co Ltd, offers trash collectors formal employment and allows them to provide door-to-door services by appointment.

Jin Yuhua and her husband have worked as trash collectors since they moved from Shandong province to Beijing in 1997. Life is hard for them – in sweltering heat and freezing cold, they sit on an old tricycle outside a housing compound, waiting for someone to sell them rubbish with tradable value.

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