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China Waste Wise Cities Good Practices

As one of the essential public services that supports our society in the 21st century, waste management is a basic human need and a critical infrastructure, especially in urban areas. Waste management is a cross-cutting issue that affects many aspects of society and the economy, closely linked to many other global challenges, including health, climate change, poverty reduction, food and resource security, and sustainable production and consumption. Waste management is a key component of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and is considered an entry point for achieving a range of SDGs.

In order to summarize the excellent experience in municipal solid waste (MSW) management and share and discuss with other cities, in December 2023, UN-Habitat China Office organized, prepared, and published the China Waste Wise Cities Good Practices (Series I), which selected three representative cities/urban districts in China with reference significance, including Suzhou, Ningbo, and Yantian District of Shenzhen City. The report highlighted the following key lessons in MSW management in China through the case studies:

  1. Clear strategic planning and target setting with the “Five-Year Plan” period are the foundation of the MSW management sector.
  2. Use market-based mechanisms to leverage capital investment to promote the rapid development of the sector.
  3. Stringent environmental emission standards, open and transparent data disclosure, and continuous communication with the public contribute to the shift from “neighbor avoidance” to “neighbor benefits.”
  4. People-oriented digital governance has become the new business card of China’s MSW management.
  5. “Waste classification is the touchstone of social civilization” is an important experience provided by China’s waste management practices.

On this basis, China Waste Wise Cities Good Practices: Series II continues to select another three representative cities/urban districts in China, namely Chaoyang District in Beijing Municipality, Xuzhou City in Jiangsu Province, and Fuzhou City in Fujian Province. This series of good practices summarizes the cases mainly from the perspective of diversified sustainable development, which extends the development of sustainable culture from communities and public places to the whole society. It extends concepts from waste management to the concepts of zero-carbon eco-parks and further to zero-waste cities, and notes the support of ecological-value orientation to the establishment of a sustainable business model. The report concludes with a summary of waste wise experiences for MSW management in China from the perspectives of global environmental governance and global environmental challenges, expecting to provide more references to the international society.


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