Everyone’s favourite pig, Peppa, is at the heart of a recycling debate that presently has our friends in Shanghai gripped and talking of little else.
Yesterday, 1 July, the Shanghai Municipal Domestic Waste Management Regulations came into force, stating that rubbish need be catagorised into recyclable waste, hazardous waste, residual waste and household food waste. The Regulations stipulate that individuals who fail to separate waste according to the classification requirements will be fined from ¥50-200.
With the release of the policy, Shanghai became immersed in rubbish classification panic. As such, a slogan emerged; “We are from Shanghai; we don’t talk about stock prices, neither house prices, the only thing we think about is rubbish classification”.
So the Shanghainese need to learn how to classify rubbish. Some netizens have commented that they do not dare drink milk tea anymore, as the disposal thereof, according to the regulations, can only be described as a joke. Theoretically, leftover milk therein should go down the toilet, the pearls to household waste, the cup to residual waste and finally, the lid to recyclable waste.
In order to make it easier to memorise how to classify rubbish, and with help from Peppa Pig (see pic above), it has been summarised thus; that which can be eaten by pigs is kitchen waste (“wet waste”), that which pigs do not want to eat is residual waste (“dry waste”), that which is poisonous to pigs is hazardous waste and that which can be sold to buy another pig is recyclable waste.
It’s nice to see Shanghai’s entrepreneurial spirit evident therein.
Nevertheless, Nanjingers should not gloat here too early, since the city is one of 46 that will introduce a rubbish classification system covering the whole city by the end of next year; 12 sub-districts of Nanjing have already implemented rubbish classification. According to The Paper, this July, Qixia District’s Yaohua Sub District shall enact a policy similar to that in many other countries, whereby different types of rubbish shall be collected on different days.
However, it is not yet compulsory in Nanjing to catagorise all waste, as for now the city does not have a complete disposal facility for kitchen waste generated by restaurants. Long Rui, the Business Director of Nanjing Municipal Waste Classification Office, said that in July this year, the first kitchen waste disposal project in Nanjing, the Jiangbei New Area Comprehensive Waste Disposal Centre Phase I, will be put into operation, with a daily capacity of 100 tons, and a mission to process kitchen waste from the main urban area.
At present, Nanjing produces 800 to 900 tons of restaurant kitchen waste daily, while the city also plans to build another such treatment facility south of the Yangtze River. With current progress as an indicator, it will take 3-5 years for Nanjing’s kitchen waste disposal capacity to match that generated.
While Shanghai complains, lacking a clear understanding of the rules, still her citizens’ legendary passion and energy can be found throughout the process. Here in Nanjing, we also need take heed; we may be requiring the services of Peppa sooner rather than later.