The world’s largest incineration plant has opened in Shanghai with the expansion of the Laogang Renewable Resource Recycling Centre. The plant was commissioned in early July and is capable of processing around 2.7 million tonnes of waste per annum. Significantly, the new waste-to-energy plant can generate up to 1.5 billion kilowatt hours of power. Building materials are also able to be produced from the slag produced from the burned waste . With 26 million people, Shanghai generates over 20 000 tonnes of waste every day.
“If you dump all of the garbage generated by the residents of Shanghai in one day into the Hongkou Football Stadium, it would pile up to a 21-metre-high hill,” says Wu Yuefeng, chief engineer at the plant. “But after treatment, we can reduce this to only 2 per cent of its original weight. And 1 per cent of its volume.”
The largest waste treatment base in Asia
The Laogang solid waste complex extends over 29.5 square kilometres. It is now the biggest solid waste treatment base in Asia. Most noteworthy, it has processed over 75 million tonnes of material since it first became operational in 1989.
Authorities are planning even more infrastructure for waste treatment facilities in the near future. Certainly plans exist to build 41 temporary large scale garbage storage stations and 8000 waste sorting and recycling stations by 2020.
A new waste sorting scheme has as a result been introduced into Shanghai from July 1st. As a result, residents must sort their garbage into ‘wet’, ‘dry’, ‘recyclable’, or ‘hazardous’ materials into four new bins. Early indications suggest residents are having trouble adapting to the new system. A phone app has also been developed to assist and handle inquiries. The Chinese government has hired 1700 sorting instructors who have conducted over 13,000 training sessions to help citizens recycle.
China is looking to role out the new waste sorting scheme nation-wide by 2025.
Many Australian local councils are re-educating their residents to reduce the amount of rubbish going into the wrong bins. One council, Adelaide City, expects that its trial transparent bins will shame people into being more conscious of what they recycle and make it easier for cans and bottles to be recycled.
Recycal is also hoping the Victorian government’s new initiative from July 1st on banning e-waste into recycling bins and hence into landfill is a positive step as the country looks to develop new and more effective e-waste recycling through appropriate collection and processing.