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Haining's green industries surging ahead

By Yang Jian (Shanghai Daily)

13:38, June 28, 2013

When people speak of Haining, a third-tier city in Zhejiang Province, 120 kilometers from Shanghai, many first think of the leather, warp-knitting and textile industries for which the city is best-known.

However, Haining has been working hard to make a switch in its economy to develop eco-friendly businesses, instead of traditional high polluting industries.

Visitors to the Zhejiang Wankai New Materials Co Ltd, a leading eco-friendly business supported by the city government, are confronted by various types of plastic bottles.

While they look the same as those on countless shop shelves, the difference is that they can be wholly recycled and used to make other products, such as carpets.

"The recycled bottles featuring a material called PET can be used for polyester staple fiber. And this, for example can be used in making carpet," said Yang Zheng, an R&D manager with Zhejiang Wankai New Materials.

PET plastic is very clear, so it is the best material for making water and other drink bottles that require high optical clarity, Yang said.

The company supplies its PET plastic materials to many renowned beverage companies both home and abroad, such as Coca-Cola and Wahaha.

Purified water

Meanwhile, the city government requires the whole process of making these PET materials does not do any harm to the surrounding area, Yang said.

The waste water that comes from the production is purified in a waste water processing center. The processed water won't be discharged but recycled.

Yang also said the material from the bags that hold the plastic powder can be re-used to make chemical fiber products. He said his company has invested more than 40 million yuan (US$6.5 million) in environmental protection facilities - calling it an investment that is paying back.

For example, the factory uses about 300 tons of water every day, which now all comes from the waste water processing center, Yang said.

"In Haining, tap water costs 4 yuan per ton, which means we could save 1,200 yuan a day. And it is around 4,000 yuan savings for a month and tens of thousands a year," he added.

Only a few kilometers from where Zhang's factory turns out eco-friendly materials for recyclable bottles, workers are busy making equipment for purifying and processing industrial gas.

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