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Garbage Classification Okayed by 90% of Residents in Deluxe Family Community
04/13/2018 Shanghai Observer

“We were not sure what would happen when we decided to clear more than 230 garbage cans off the floors overnight.” Sheng Hong, Chief of Party General Branch of Ronghua Neighborhood, betrayed anxiety at the mention of the garbage classification.

Deluxe Family Community on Huangjincheng Road in Gubei comprises residences catering for foreign expats. Out of 457 households, 86 are foreign expats, accounting for 19.4%. Even in old-style apartment buildings, garbage classification is not that easy. So, it is extremely difficult to turn the original garbage dumping habits of the residents into fixed-time and fixed-point disposal of garbage in such a luxury community with 20% foreign-related households and nearly 50% of tenants!

All changes began with the removal of garbage cans from the corridor.

To the delight of Sheng Hong, in the Deluxe Family Community on the first day for garbage classification from March 30, more than 100 households still did not dump garbage in accordance with the new regulations. But the number tumbled to more than 30 households on the second day. And these days, except for a handful of households, more than 90% of residents in the community have accepted garbage classification and fixed-point dumping.

The reporter learned that this is the pilot project of the foreign-related commercial housing community launched by Hongqiao Sub-district following the implementation of garbage classification in China Garden Villas community. Upon this “model house” success, the garbage classification will be promoted in more commercial housing communities and foreign-related communities.

Dumping habit change poses the biggest difficulty.

Three years ago, a residential building in the Deluxe Family Community saw an aborted trial garbage classification. This time, Ronghua Neighborhood chose the Deluxe Family Community again to conduct garbage classification pilot project. The Neighborhood Committee, the Owners Committee and the Property Management were all overshadowed with uncertainty.

The trial classification of garbage is the first of its kind in a foreign-related community in Shanghai. Among the 86 foreign-related households in the Deluxe Family Community are 7 Japanese households, 4 Korean households, 23 European and American households, 49 Hong Kong and Taiwanese households. This means that the garbage classification pilot project shall be geared to the international practice. “While Chinese is the working language to promote the garbage classification in other communities, we need to do the promotion work in other languages for foreign-related households.” Nevertheless, Sheng Hong is very confident about this. On the one hand, foreigners have a higher degree of acceptance and recognition of garbage classification. In addition, Ronghua Neighborhood have accumulated a very good public opinion foundation over the years and established a communication platform. Many people expressed support when they learned that the community would implement garbage classification.

Anxiety also comes from the complexity in the composition or texture of households. “Nearly half of the residents in this community are tenants with strong mobility, and in most of the households, the domestic helpers do the garbage dumping.” Data show that 187 households are tenants in the Deluxe Family Community, accounting for 40.9%. “This requires that we should aim our publicity at not only the owners but also the domestic helpers and the tenants who have to go out for the dumping. This could be a big challenge.”

The biggest difficulty is the change in the dumping habit. Compared with the old-style community, the first problem that the Deluxe Family Community must overcome is to clear the garbage can off the corridor. There are 457 households in the community, and averagely one garbage can is set for every two households. The fixed-point dumping means that more than 230 garbage cans shall be removed.

Does it work if letting the residents change their original dumping habits at once? An opinion poll showed that only 60% of residents were willing to change the habit initially, which is not high. “There are hidden fire risks if the garbage can is set in the corridor.” He Zhonglei, Manager of Gubei Property Management Office, told the reporter that there is a large obstruction to changing the deployment mode of the garbage cans provided in the existing floors. Besides, there is also lack of legal guarantee. To this end, the community paid attention to the advancement by law. Before the removal of the garbage cans, a rectification notice was issued for the existence of potential safety hazards in the garbage cans and the garbage bin room set on the corridors. Also, the police station cooperated in law enforcement with tightened supervision and inspection for the occupation of the public place and evacuation exits by garbage cans. At the same time, the garbage classification was written into residents’ conventions to elevate community governance to a higher level of legalization in line with integrity of rules and ethics.

On March 30, more than 230 garbage cans in the Deluxe Family Community were disposed of once and for all.

 “We were all worried that day. Volunteers provided collaboration and guidance on site for 12 hours. After a check that day, more than 100 households still threw the garbage in the old place. But on the following day, only 30 households did so,” Sheng Hong said. This number left everyone with a sigh of relief with hope.

Many foreign-related households have become good examples for other people in garbage classification.

At 11 o’clock in the morning, Mr. Ni, a Taiwanese dweller in Building No. 12, walked out of his home with a large bag of garbage and goes straight to the southeast corner of the community.

About five minutes later, he arrived at the garbage bin room. Mr. Ni stopped and threw the garbage bag into the “Dry Garbage” bin. Then, he took out two used batteries from his pocket and threw them into the “Hazardous Waste” bin. Mr. Ni noticed that the treatment direction of garbage was marked on all four garbage bins. For example, “Dry Garbage” and “Wet Garbage” are separately packed by different trucks of Gaojie Company, which are cleaned daily, and finally transported to a waste disposal center. After the bin is filled with “recyclable garbage”, “recyclable garbage” will be collected and transported by New Jinhua Company for resource treatment. Batteries and other “hazardous waste” will be collected and transported by Gaojie Company. “Considering that residents will question whether the wastes classified are mixed at the end link, this sign indicates the journey of waste disposal.” The volunteer standing on the side said.

“Garbage classification is with a hard nut to crack. Even the garbage classification in Taiwan can’t be such careful.” Mr. Ni, who has lived in Shanghai for more than 10 years, witnesses how his community implements garbage classification. He is very supportive and also slightly worried. “We are willing to cooperate with this well-organized community.”

The Neighborhood renewed its effort for the ready acceptance of the garbage classification on the part of the foreign expats. In addition to the Chinese version, the garbage classification leaflets, issued by the community, were also found in Japanese and English.

“In the past few years, the Ronghua Neighborhood have established a self-governing platform such as civic center activities and the committee room for Chinese and foreign residents alike. Once the call has been initiated, these foreign activists have acted as the backbone and volunteers to boost promotion,” Sheng Hong told the reporter. As early as last year, the Chinese and foreign committee members brainstormed on the topic of garbage classification. The Spanish committee member Ricardo and his Taiwanese wife were very supportive. The charitable organizations of Japanese residents in the Gubei area were also very supportive. Shoko Ozaki, a Japanese woman, offered special assistance in translating the Japanese version of the garbage classification proposal and actively did promotion work in the WeChat group of “Japanese ladies”. In the process of mobilization, the community also gave priority to face-to-face communication with foreign residents. Accordingly, the garbage classification activities have been wide acclaimed by the foreign-related households in the community. Many households have also become volunteers and leaders of garbage classification.

Party members take the lead as volunteers

After the removal of the cans, many residents have to go a long way to throw away the garbage.

“The farthest household has to walk 10 minutes from the northwest corner of the community to the garbage bin room in the northeast corner” He Zhonglei said. As a result of consultation and negotiation, for the farthest building from the garbage bin room, a garbage can is set up in the middle of two communities. In order to make it more convenient for residents to throw garbage, the community is planning to rebuild the garbage bin room. At present, the reconstruction scheme for the garbage bin room is well underway for consultation and raising of funds.

The garbage classification in several communities owes its success to the role of party building and volunteers. In the commercial housing, high-end commercial housing, and foreign-related commercial housing, Party building calls for further solidification. “According to statistics, the number of retired Party members in the community was only 9, and during the process of promotion, 3 Party members volunteered to join our volunteer team,” said Sheng Hong.

Data showed the day-to-day development of garbage classification after the removal of the cans. “We thought we would meet resistance, but in fact, the fixed-point garbage dumping achieved its desired effect,” said the director of the Property Owners’ Committee. The fixed-point garbage dumping was well under way a week later. Both the garbage classification rate and the fixed-point dumping rate have exceeded 90%. The community also provided training on garbage classification for domestic helpers and property management cleaners.

“We will gradually expand pilot sites through selection of communities of different types and sizes,” said by Hu Yu’ang, Secretary of Party Working Committee in Hongqiao Sub-district. Hongqiao Sub-district is actively building itself into a garbage classification demonstration zone. In the first half of this year, at least 1 pilot community in different types of residential areas will implement the source classification of garbage. In other words, more than 95% of fixed-time and fixed-point garbage dumping are expected to cover most commercial housing and foreign-related communities. In the second half of this year, 16 pilot communities will finalize their garbage classification drive. In communities with the classification rate at 95% or more, joint efforts will be made to supervise the operation companies on the routine garbage classification and removal. Besides, the self-service point redemption machines shall be set and organizational help and financial support shall be provided for the communities as well.

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