Opinion / Editorials

Garbage recycling a necessity

(China Daily) Updated: 2014-05-14 07:37

Last Saturday, there was a public protest in Hangzhou, Zhejiang province, over a planned waste incinerator. Because of the health and environmental concerns associated with them, this is not the first protest against plans for a waste incinerator in recent years.

While it is important that local governments promote greater transparency in the decision-making process to regain public trust, a Beijing News editorial asks, why not also promote garbage recycling so that we don't need to build so many garbage incinerators?

There is a saying that garbage is just a resource in the wrong place. That would seem to be the case in many developed countries. In Denmark and Sweden, for example, 80 to 90 percent of all garbage is recycled for use. In Germany, there have even been reports that garbage incinerators are worried about their lack of business because of the amount of garbage that is being recycled.

Actually, after being sorted for recycling, the remaining garbage will no longer be so harmful to the environment even if burned, because it will no longer contain materials such as those plastic bags that produce toxic gases when burned.

It is necessary to promote the practice of garbage sorting first, which is the prerequisite for recovering re-useable materials out of the waste. Many domestic cities have introduced relevant regulations, but they are not being well implemented. Proper legislation and enforcement is needed to encourage the public to sort their garbage.

Besides, manufacturers should be made responsible for their products. For example, after selling a refrigerator, the corporation should be responsible for recycling any packaging, those producing milk can also buy back their bottles at a certain price so that consumers will return them.

The incident in Hangzhou is actually a good opportunity to promote the necessity of garbage sorting. That requires cooperation from residents, manufacturers and the government. But the efforts will be worth the cost because of the returns they will bring.

If our garbage can be sorted and recycled, China will be better able to manage its waste and will no longer need to build so many incinerators and any related protests against such plants would naturally disappear.

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