China has set a target to reuse 60% of its urban household waste by 2025, according to reports, as parts of the country are ‘still struggling’ to keep up with growing volumes of waste.
After failing to meet some of its 2016-2020 targets, the country’s planning commission said it wanted to improve waste handling capacity.
The National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC) said urban waste handling capacity reached 1.27 million tonnes a day last year, up 63% compared with 2015, but some places were ‘still struggling’ to keep up with the growing volumes of waste.
It was announced recently that state-owned China Energy Conservation and Environmental Protection Group will step up efforts to promote development of solid waste handling and recycling to tap market potential of ‘fast-growing green industries’, as the country’s energy efficiency and carbon intensity targets offer growth opportunities.
“CECEP will build a batch of demonstration projects in solid waste management, environmental protection, ecological conservation and resource utilisation. The group will seize growth opportunities in the 14th Five-Year Plan period (2021-25), as the government sends strong signals to promote development of energy conservation and environmental protection industries,” said Song Xin, chairman of CECEP.
China has made effective efforts and seen active progress in recycling solid waste in the past five years.
According to a guideline by the National Development and Reform Commission and several other ministry-level departments, in 2019, the integral reuse rate of bulk solid waste was 55 percent, up 5 percentage points compared with that of 2015.
The integral reuse rate of coal gangue, fly ash, by-product gypsum, and straw reached 70 percent, 78 percent, 70 percent and 86 percent, respectively.
In the past five years, about 13 billion tonnes of bulk solid waste were recycled and reused, which saved over 66,667 hectares of land space, protected the environment and promoted high-quality development of the coal, chemical, electricity, steel and construction material sectors, according to reports by China Daily.
CECEP will build a batch of demonstration projects in solid waste management, environmental protection, ecological conservation and resource utilisation…
Although China saw rapid development of the solid waste management and recycling sectors, it still faces great challenges, Song said.
The goal is to increase the integral reuse rate of bulk solid waste to 60 percent by 2025, reduce containment, improve the industrial system, make breakthroughs to tackle technological bottlenecks, enhance regulations and policies as well as set up more mature industry standards, according to the guideline.
China is also now rolling out regulations to ensure people sort their waste and is also beginning to restrict single-use plastics and non-recyclable packaging waste.
It also launched various recycling schemes as well as a “waste-free city” programme aimed at tackling a solid waste treatment backlog estimated at up to 70 billion tonnes in 2019.
China banned imports of foreign solid waste this year (2021).