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Waste sorting generating new business opportunities in China

(People's Daily Online)    14:39, July 08, 2019


Waste sorting is triggering dramatic nationwide changes in China. It has not only boosted certain existing businesses, but also created new industries and opportunities.

Shanghai is the first Chinese city to promote waste sorting. Starting from July 1, the city enforced the “strictest rules” on waste sorting. Those who make mistakes in classifying waste may face a fine of up to 200 yuan ($29).

Following the steps of Shanghai as a pioneer, 46 more Chinese cities will also join the initiative to sort their waste.

In this trend, dealers and manufacturers of trash cans are no doubt one of the largest beneficiaries.

Statistics indicated that in this June, the search volume for “waste sorting trash can” surged over 3,000 percent on Tmall, an online shopping platform of Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba, and the sales volume of such products on the platform increased fivefold this month from a year ago.

250 million yuan has been spent by individual consumers on waste sorting trash cans on Tmall as well as Taobao, another of Alibaba’s platforms.

According to an individual online seller of imported trash cans, over 25,000 orders were completed in the past month. Because of the huge demand, he had to place a purchase restriction for his customers of one item per buyer.

Taizhou, east China’s Zhejiang province, which owns an industrial belt that produces plastics including waste sorting trash cans, has seen a booming performance in the past month. About 3,000 enterprises in the city are benefiting from the sorting of waste, and the number of their customers on Alibaba wholesale platform “1688” almost doubled, with their sales increasing by over 45 percent.

Chen Dongsheng, general manager of a Taizhou-based trash can manufacturer, said that the company’s orders mainly came from Shanghai. The company’s factory is running 24 hours each day, producing 30,000 to 40,000 trash cans, he added.

In addition to trash can enterprises, waste sorting is also facilitating new industries, and the garbage pick-up service is one of the hottest sectors that the national campaign has created.

Thanks to the service, customers can place an order online, and their garbage will later be collected by the service providers.

Both full-time and part-time jobs are offered by the garbage pick-up service providers. Wang Yifei, a city manager of Alipay, Alibaba’s mobile payment platform, said that there have been over 50 such providers having registered on Alipay’s recycling platform, with some hiring dozens of employees. Some of the employees can earn over 10,000 yuan per month.

“It seems like we deal with dirty stuff, but nevertheless are in a rising industry,” said Luo Qi, a full-time garbage collector in Shanghai.

According to statistics, the average monthly income of jobs related to waste sorting on job-hunting site stood at 16,000 yuan per capita in the first half of 2019.

Moreover, waste sorting mobile applications that help citizens recognize waste is also becoming a new business opportunity. By July 3, mini applications on Alipay related to waste sorting have attracted over 1 million new users.

Wang noted that some of the developers of such apps are garbage collecting companies that hope to acquire customers from the internet, while some are individuals who wish to gain traffic and make profits from advertising. 

(For the latest China news, Please follow People's Daily on Twitter and Facebook)(Web editor: Hongyu, Bianji)

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