Why does compulsory garbage sorting in Shanghai matter?
Residents in Shanghai who are confused by the city's new recycling rules can turn to Alipay for advice on how to sort their trash, as they'll be required to do by the city government starting next month.
The Alipay mini-app called "Garbage Sorting Guideline" that teaches people how to sort trash. [Photo: China Plus]
Alipay users can log into a mini-app called "Garbage Sorting Guidelines", type in the kind of trash they're unsure of, and they will get an answer about how they should dispose of it. They can even take a photo of the item to get an answer. Alipay is also offering a garbage pick-up service that allows users to place orders to sell their waste paper, clothes, glass bottles, and plastics.
A resident throws rubbish into smart bins deployed at a residential area in Shanghai on May 3, 2019. [Photo: VCG]
New rules about the disposal of household garbage come into effect in Shanghai on July 1. The new rules, which may be the toughest to be introduced in China, require residents to sort their trash into four categories – food waste, recyclable materials, non-recyclable waste, and hazardous waste – and drop them into designated bins at set collection times. Individuals who fail to sort their garbage face fines of up to 200 yuan (about 29 U.S. dollars), while companies and institutions face a penalty of up to 50,000 yuan (about 7,300 U.S. dollars).
Residents throw rubbish into a smart bin deployed at a residential area in Shanghai on July 1, 2018. [Photo: IC]
China has been encouraging citizens to sort their household garbage for about two decades. Beijing has asked residents to follow its guidelines for household garbage disposal since 2012, but Shanghai is the first city on the Chinese mainland to introduce municipal laws requiring residents to recycle.
And it looks like more cities may follow Shanghai's lead. On Friday, the national government vowed to promote household trash sorting nationwide. It will invest 21.3 billion yuan (about 3.1 billion U.S. dollars) in the construction of garbage processing facilities, and 46 cities including Beijing, Tianjin, and Shanghai are building household garbage management systems, said Zhang Lequn, an official with the Ministry of Housing and Urban-Rural Development.