Recycling and waste recovery to be Olympic winners

Beijing aims to become a model city in terms of waste management as it braces itself for temporary surge in its population as the 2008 Olympics draw ever closer.

State-owned paper the China Daily reported on Wednesday that the city was working to establish a ‘circular economy’ which would aim to make better use of recyclable goods and natural resources in a bid to reduce the capital’s demand materials.

The announcement comes hot on the heals of the expulsion from the Communist party of the man charged with overseeing construction of Beijing’s Olympic park.

Liu Zhihua, former deputy mayor of the city, was hounded out of office after it emerged he had taken bribes running into millions of yuan.

Commentators have suggested that the announcement on plans to run a clean Olympics was brought forward to provide some much-needed positive publicity for the games following the scandal.

The rhetoric on waste will be backed up by two action plans, one to address resource use and the other geared towards finding more sustainable disposal methods for solid waste.

The Beijing Circular Economy Development Plan will aim to save the city energy and water as well as recycle more waste.

It includes plans to use grey water to irrigate agricultural land and restrictions on water consumption by commercial buildings.

The Beijing Solid Waste Disposal Plan calls for the creation of a standard renewable resources recycling system to cover the whole city by 2010.

At the moment, 90% of the city’s waste goes to landfill, two percent is incinerated and the remainder is composted.

By 2020 the authorities plan to turn this unenviable track record on its head.

The plan aims to increase paper recycling to 80%, recovery of plastics to 60%, tyres to 70%, WEEE to 80% and car parts to 95%.

Under the plan, the city’s waste paper recovery rate is expected to reach 80 per cent.

The recovery rate of waste plastic should climb to 60 per cent, and 70 per cent of waste tyres will be recovered.

Large scale waste processing facilities will be equipped to recycle, compost and incinerate rubbish, with additional space for landfilling the remainder.

Sam Bond

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