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Shanghai Mulls Improved Recycling Scheme
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A plan to introduce a garbage-sorting system to Shanghai to improve sanitation and make a better use of recyclable materials is currently under discussion, an official said yesterday.

The project is being deliberated by the city appearance and environmental sanitation administration bureau (CAESAB).

"A detailed plan for a trial operation will not be released until the end of July or early August," Chen Wencai, a spokesperson for the garbage administration department of the CAESAB, said.

It is expected the project will be piloted in selected areas, with environmental experts later deciding how it might be rolled out across the city.

According to figures from the CAESAB, households in Shanghai produce 15,000 tons of waste every day, with the volume growing by 5 percent a year. The city spends more than 1 billion yuan ($132 million) every year to treat it.

Shanghai already has a recycling system, with workers based near residential areas making regular collections of paper, cardboard and other recyclable products. In addition, commuters are encouraged to hand over their "used" newspapers to collectors posted outside subway stations.

One worker at a downtown station, who asked not to be named, said he collected an average of 10 kg of newspapers every weekday morning.

However, the materials currently being collected account for just 8 percent of the total waste, the bureau said.

The city still needs to improve its garbage-sorting system, Chen said.

The city's environmental administrators are also calling on people to sell as much reusable garbage as they can to recycling centers. A complete plan to facilitate more detailed garbage sorting will probably come out in the first three months of next year, Chen told China Daily.

Currently, there are garbage-sorting systems in operation in 3,700 residential communities. The project was introduced in the downtown area in 1999.

The first 100 trial sites were set up the following year, but with no obvious effect, either because the idea of saving waste is alien to people, or because the process itself is not efficient, a report by the Shanghai Morning Post said.

The city categorizes household waste into six groups, according to how it is treated: Daily life waste, restaurant waste, home decoration materials, food market garbage and large-size waste.

(China Daily July 11, 2007)

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