Shenzhen Releases New Garbage Sorting Guidelines

By That's Shenzhen, July 18, 2019

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You’ve probably heard all the hubbub surrounding Shanghai’s new rules on garbage sorting. Well Shenzhen, now’s our time to get in on the fun. In May, Shenzhen was named one of eleven cities to take part in a waste classification pilot program designated by the State Council. Hopefully the program will help ease the citywide rollout, as certain communities have already been practicing. Additionally there are  many apps, resources, fun games and activities dedicated to helping citizens become knowledgeable on trash sorting. 

Here are some key points:

  • There are four categories of waste

  • Shenzhen does not distinguish between dry and wet garbage

  • Before the end of 2019, all residential districts in Shenzhen will remove garbage bins from each floor

  • Waste management classification is expected to be fully implemented by next year

Take a look at the four categories of waste below: 


Able to be recycled or reused

Screengrab via Alipay

Examples: glass, metals, plastics, paper and articles made of paper, textiles, furniture, plastic bottles, basins and buckets

Note: these items must be cleaned before being placed in the recycle bin

Kitchen Waste 

Perishable, compostable food

Screengrab via Alipay

Examples: leftovers, vegetables, used tea leafs, egg shells, fruit peels, soup leftovers and bones

Note: don’t throw toothpicks, napkins, worn out socks, underwear or mops in the Kitchen Waste bin

Hazardous Waste 

Direct or potential risk to human health or the natural environment

Screengrab via Alipay

Examples: used batteries and fluorescent tubes

Note: broken batteries should be sealed in a clear bag before being thrown into the Used Battery bin

Other Waste 

Waste that does not fit in the above three categories

Screengrab via Alipay

Examples: bags, contaminated paper, dirty plastic bags, diapers, dirt, cigarette butts, paper and plastic takeout boxes, broken flower pots and bowls, wallpaper

Note: broken fluorescent tubes belong to Other Waste and should be wrapped in paper and taped before being disposed of

If residents are not sure what the proper category of a certain object is, they can throw it into the Other Waste bin for now.

Shenzhen plans to arrange RMB62.5 million in subsidies for household waste classification incentives every year. Households with good classification can receive up to RMB2,000 in rewards, and individuals up to RMB1,000.

Apartment buildings that have joined the pilot waste sorting program have a garbage sorting area set downstairs instead of garbage bins on each floor. A garbage sorting agreement is signed with each household.

If this seems like information overload, don’t worry, posters on how to classify waste will be situated above each garbage sorting area to familiarize the community with the proper knowledge. You may also spot volunteer supervisors sporting red vests who will kindly be helping you to sort your trash. 

READ MORE: Test Your Garbage Sorting Skills with This Fun Game

[Cover image via BJX Environment Protection

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