A parade float depicts the happy faces of various trash bins in Baoshan district, East China’s Shanghai Municipality on Wednesday. Each of the bins is supposed to receive a different type of garbage to promote better sorting of recyclable materials. Photo: IC

Beijing will roll out a compulsory garbage sorting mechanism in public areas, including the surroundings of schools and hospitals, according to city authorities on Wednesday. 

Zhang Jiaming, a deputy mayor of the Chinese capital city, made a report on Wednesday, saying that Beijing plans to introduce a compulsory garbage sorting mechanism in areas including “schools, hospitals, business office buildings, and tourist sites,” Beijing Evening Post reported.

The use of single-time-use products will be banned in Party and government departments and public institutions. The ban will be included in the city’s laws and regulations. 

Compulsory garbage sorting would gradually expand to full city coverage, Zhang noted in the report.

Beijing is reported to create about nine million tons of household waste annually, and 40 percent goes to landfill. Some pilot projects have started in communities, but the schemes are not compulsory, and there are no penalties for those who fail to sort their trash.

Under the new compulsory mechanism, garbage sorting performance could be linked to residents’ social credit. And a variety of incentives to encourage the practice would be introduced, such as establishing a point management system, a credit account special for garbage sorting, according to the Beijing Evening Post. 

By the end of 2019, Beijing authorities will set up garbage sorting demonstration areas in 224 streets, counties and villages, covering 60 percent of the city. 

Garbage cans at residential areas will also be equipped with identification and weight scaling devices, to achieve real time monitor and data collection on the responsible persons’ performance.

Such a move is part of nationwide efforts to improve social management, coming days after Xi’an, capital of Northwest China’s Shaanxi Province, announced that it would record local residents who refuse to observe local garbage sorting regulations in the social credit system, starting in September.

Those who refuse to fulfill their obligations will be recorded under the personal credit system or will be fined up to 200 yuan ($28). 

The social credit system is used to regulate public behavior and improve overall social credibility. Individuals who have been included in the system may be refused access to air and high-speed train travel.