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Asian Development Bank

50 climate solutions from cities in the People's Republic of China

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Embracing circular economy principles, Ningbo is tackling its waste problem head on, with advanced waste separation and recycling, dramatically reducing the amount sent to landfill.

Ningbo is implementing an advanced waste separation, collection, and treatment strategy. The city is incentivizing the separation of municipal waste at the source, before it is collected and either recycled or converted to energy. An anaerobic digestion facility for kitchen waste, through public–private partnership, will be completed in 2018, with capacity for 30,000 m3 of organic waste per day. This will harvest natural gas produced from the decomposition process, which can be used for power or heat.

173K
TONS OF CO2 EQUIVALENT PER YEAR WILL BE SAVED BY THE KITCHEN WASTE TREATMENT FACILITY BY 2019.

The project links with the national agenda and the 13th Five-Year Plan, which explicitly requires a “sound collection and recycling system” for separated waste, as well as “promoting resource utilization and hazard free treatment of foods and other waste.” Citizens will benefit from better solid waste management, cleaner environment, and living conditions, and improved public health.

Children separating waste in Ningbo.
The landfill underwent revitalization, maximizing land resource values to become the unique green garden it is today (photo by Hongmin Dong).

The Challenge

The PRC produces around 300 million tons of waste per year, the majority of which ends up in landfill or at incineration plants. Ningbo’s new strategies aim to reverse this and create an environment that encourages recycling

Co-Benefits

Economic  Increasing recycling rates provides access to cheaper resources, and separating organic waste allows for harvesting of natural gas for energy and heat.

Environment The project will improve solid waste collection and separation at the household level in six urban districts in Ningbo, reducing the amount of waste sent to the existing landfill and incineration facilities.

Social Community workshops are designed to educate citizens and improve waste segregation at the source. In 2014–2017, more than 1,750 training sessions have been organized, engaging 108,000 citizens.