Urban household solid waste generation and collection in Beijing, China

The household solid waste generated in Beijing is increasing quickly due to rapid population growth and lifestyle changes. However, there are no rigorous data on the generation and collection of recyclable household solid waste. The Beijing city government needs this information to establish policies and make plans for waste management. To address this need for information, we undertook the first comprehensive study of recyclable household solid waste for Beijing. We surveyed 500 families across sixteen districts in Beijing. We also analyzed the quantities, spatial distribution and categories of collected waste handled by permanent recycling centers and curbside recyclers for 340 of the 9797 city-defined residential areas of Beijing. From our results, we estimate that the total quantity of recyclable household solid waste was 1.805 million tons in 2013, and 72% of that was collected. The main generation categories were waste paper (24.4%), waste glass bottles (23.7%) and waste furniture (14.3%). In addition, we estimate there were 5.7 thousand permanent recycling centers and 22.8 thousand curbside recyclers in Beijing. The recycling rate of solid waste generated by urban households in Beijing was not low but varied significantly among different types of solid waste. The collecting capability of permanent recycling centers was inadequate. Urban residents had low awareness of some categories of solid waste recycling. The statistical system for waste management needed to be improved. Based on the problems mentioned above, the implications for solid waste management were discussed. We suggest accelerating the construction of permanent recycling centers and innovating the recycling modes. Meanwhile, it is also necessary to strengthen education on solid waste recycling and improve the recycling information statistics.

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