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Straw recycling expo aims to cut rural air pollution

Xinhua | Updated: 2017-06-06 14:04

HEFEI - East China's Anhui Province held its first straw recycling expo Monday, with the aim of boosting the industry to help reduce air pollution caused by straw burning in rural areas.

The two-day expo was held in Hefei, the provincial capital. It covered a total floor space of 23,000 square meters, with more than 200 companies displaying new technology and products ranging from floor tiles, vegetable and egg trays to biofuel.

Anhui Shenlong is a renewable resources company that manufactures trays, tableware and flowerpots made from recycled straw.

"People are interested in our products, especially the infant spoon and bowl," said general manager Su Yali.

"Products made from straw are biodegradable, do not pollute soil and water, and are safe for consumers," Su said.

Chinese farmers traditionally burn straw after the harvest and plough the ashes into the ground, as they believe this fertilizes farmland. However, the smoke causes air pollution.

As a major producer of rice, wheat and corn, Anhui also produces around 48 million tonnes of waste straw every year. Over the last 20 years the province has increased efforts to recycle straw through using it as livestock feed and biofuel for power plants. It has also set up an environmental protection fund worth 1 billion yuan (around 150 million U.S. dollars) to promote straw recycling.

"In 2015, 81.5 percent of the province's waste straw was recycled. The figure is expected to exceed 90 percent by 2020, accounting for more than 43 million tonnes of straw," said Deng Xiangyang, vice governor of Anhui.

At the expo, companies are expected to sign agreements worth 12.2 billion yuan, which will involve the recycling of around 5 million tonnes of straw annually.

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