As the consumption habits of Chinese people have changed over the years, so has their garbage. According to the Chinese Urban Garbage Disposing Committee, plastic packaging, for example, now constitutes about 10 percent of urban rubbish. All this packaging is recyclable.
Petroleum is the raw material used in the production of plastic bottles, with 6 tons of petroleum used to produce every ton of the receptacles. Every year around 150,000 tons of plastic bottles are thrown away in Beijing alone. To protect the environment and save resources, Beijing Yingchuang Regenerated Material Co., Ltd was established, with the largest production line for making recycled bottles in Asia. They can handle 160 tons of used bottles a day. After selection, cleaning, disinfection, crushing and melting, they are turned into creamy-white plastic cubes. These are then transformed into new bottles.
Yingchuang receives and treats 60,000 tons of used plastic bottles annually, representing around 40 percent of the total collected in the capital each year. According to Yingchuang manager Zhao Yan, the plant's waste processing equipment and technology have been certified by the US Food and Drug Administration and the International Life Science Institute as safe to produce bottles for use in food and drug packaging. Furthermore, Yingchuang's bottles cost 7 percent less than other types. Coca Cola has already decided to purchase 10,000 tons of Yingchuang's recycled bottles annually to use in soft drink packaging.
Paper is also a common form of waste, and most Beijing offices now have paper recycling boxes. Used office documents, newspapers and packaging are sent to the Beijing No. 7 Paper Mill and other mills to be converted into recycled paper.
Food leftovers are another potentially rich source of recycling. According to statistics, 63 percent of domestic garbage in Beijing is kitchen leftovers. Four waste food treatment plants have been built in Beijing, with a daily handling capacity of 1,200 tons. There are already a few Chinese patents to turn kitchen waste into organic fertilizer. Biochemical machines using physical or biochemical technology to turn leftover food into fertilizers can now be seen in some markets and restaurants, but the cost of maintaining this equipment has limited its widespread adoption.
A garbage processing plant in China. [Xinhua]