Municipal Solid Waste Management in China

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Municipal Solid Waste Management in China

January 2007

Lin, Jiaoqiao
Lin, Na
Qiao, Liming
Zheng, Jie
Tsao, Chi-Chung

Part 1 MSW Management in China Mainland

INTRODUCTION

No country has ever experienced as large or as fast an increase in solid waste quantities that China is now facing. In 2004 China surpassed the United States as the world’s largest waste generator, and by 2030 China’s annual solid waste quantities will increase by another 150% - growing from about 190,000,000 tons in 2004 to over 480,000,000 tons in 2030(Delvoie 2005). This growing waste stream has significant impact for the society, environment and economic development.

The Quantity and Composition of MSW in China
The definition of municipal solid waste (MSW) should include all waste generated since the municipality may be required to assume responsibility if there is no longer sufficient impetus to remove the material from the waste stream. This report defines MSW as all waste originating in urban areas from residential, industrial (non-hazardous), commercial and institutional sectors.

Most Chinese municipal solid waste generation data is presented in three categories: municipal, industrial, and hazardous waste. ‘Municipal waste’ usually includes residential, institutional, commercial, street cleaning, and non-process waste from industries. In some cases, construction and demolition waste is also included and can dramatically skew the generation rate, especially in times of high economic growth and related construction activity. ‘Industrial waste’ is usually limited to ‘process waste’ such as process by-products like scrap metal, slag, and mine tailings. ‘Hazardous waste’ usually refers to industrial hazardous waste generated as a by-product of the manufacturing process, medical waste, small-scale generation of hazardous waste from households, institutions and commercial establishments, and occasionally small amounts of radioactive waste, e.g. smoke detectors and medical process waste.

The categorization of wastes in China is not always consistent or comprehensive from city to city and adversely affects the utility of the database. And most available information in China is based on ‘waste collected’ data rather than ‘waste generated’data. However, waste generated data is more useful since it includes recyclable secondary materials, and encourages more full-cost accounting of the overall MSW system and program financing. Data presented in this report are waste generated estimates. Table1: Projected Municipal Waste Generation for the Urban Population in China [pic]

data source: United Nations, 2002
Figure 1 Projected Municipal Waste Composition in Urban Areas of China–As Generated [pic]
Municipal Waste Generated from Population Using Coal = 49, 500, 000 tonnes Municipal Waste Generated from Population Using gas = 100, 500, 000 tonnes Total Municipal Waste Generation in 2000 = 150,000,000 tonnes

[pic]
Total Municipal Waste Generation Expected in 2030 = 484,000,000 tonnes

The data in Figure 1 is prepared by AMEC Earth & Environmental, based on existing government data and field visits to three representative cities (Kunming, Shanghai, Chongqing)

Figure 1 shows the priority and importance of the organic fraction of the waste management. In 2030, even with a marked increase in packaging waste, paper products and plastics and a complete reduction of coal ash, organics will still make up more than 50% of the waste stream. These organics are poorly suited to incineration due to their high water content, and have the propensity to generate leachate when landfilled. China’s waste stream is growing fastest in paper, plastics and multi-laminates, such as plastic coated paper. (WB 2005)

The ISWM Strategy of MSW Management in China
Chinese government tried to respond to this challenge, by moving up the “waste management hierarchy” promoting waste reduction, reuse and recycle,...
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