It’s official: trash sorting is now mandatory in Beijing.
The citywide household garbage sorting system, first proposed late last year, officially went into effect on May 1, 2020. Beijing becomes the latest city to enforce a waste classification system, following similar moves in Shanghai, Shenzhen and 16 other cities around the country.
Under the new rules, waste will now be designated into four categories: recyclable waste, hazardous waste, household food waste (otherwise known as ‘wet trash’) and residual waste.
Waste bins in communities around the capital will be color coordinated to help residents sort their trash properly, with the four colors corresponding to each category: blue (recyclable), gray (residual), green (food waste) and red (hazardous).
Those worried about sorting wet from dry waste will be relieved to know that illustrated posters will be situated above the bins to help familiarize Beijingers with the categories. Along with deploying community volunteers across the city, authorities will also provide 113,000 sorting bins and stations to assist in the coming months.
Failure to sort trash properly could result in fines for individuals of up to RMB200. Enterprises face punishments between RMB1,000 and RMB50,000, according to China Daily. Citywide inspections will be taking place through the end of July to ensure people follow the rules.
The new regulations are aimed at protecting the environment. Discarding rubbish into categorized bins can reduce the amount of untreatable waste. According to the latest statistics, Beijing’s 21 million residents produced an average of 27,700 tonnes of trash per day in 2019.
Trash sorting campaigns in other Chinese cities have yielded mixed – though promising – results. No doubt China’s recent push to phase out single-use plastics by 2025 will make trash sorting rules easier to follow.
Can’t tell your recyclable waste from your residual waste? Check out this helpful game for a refresher.
[Cover image via Unsplash]