Addressing Low Carbon Integrated Waste Management during China’s 8th MSW Incineration Forum

September 27, 2019

On September 27th the China Urban Waste Incineration and Low Carbon Development Forum successfully took place during China’s 8th MSW Incineration Technology and Equipment Forum in Xi’an. This Subforum was jointly organized by GIZ IWM NAMA project and China Association of Urban Environmental Sanitation (CAUES) with the focus of low carbon waste management. The sub-forum attracted experts from the local and national government, private sector, research institutes, and academia as well as representatives of the five demonstration municipalities (namely Xi’an, Suzhou, Lanzhou, Bengbu, and Taian). The aim of the event was to foster in-depth exchanges on advanced technologies and management experiences on low carbon integrated waste management.

After the opening remarks by Mr. Yang Weihua, Director of Xi’an Urban Administration Bureau and Mr. Liu Jinghao, Secretary of CAUES, the invited experts from Xi’an Municipal Urban Administration Bureau, Tsinghua University, Beijing Normal University and the Research Institute on Planning and Designing of Ministry of Agriculture shared their knowledge on the following focal topics:

  • MSW management status in Xi’an
  • Synergies on pollution control and GHG emission reduction in China’s MSW sector
  • Incineration system of municipal solid waste from a life cycle assessment perspective
  • Policies and standards on municipal organic waste treatment

The afternoon session brought the topic application standard for biodegradable urban source organic waste products into focus. Ms. Liu Xiao, senior technical adviser of IWM NAMA project opened the session with an introduction to current regulations in Germany in the field of organic waste disposal as well as the applied financial instruments and policies to promote organic waste treatment and its market establishment. Resource reuse and recycling should be the precondition as well as the purpose of waste sorting. As Liu Xiao stressed in her presentation, many of the German advanced quality control standards and management experience could be good examples for China to increase the disposal and reuse rate of organic waste. This was followed by an open discussion covering aspects of standard making, market factors, urban policies, technological support, and other driving forces. During the discussion, various opinions based on various demands, problems and challenges were raised by the experts and representatives of the demonstration cities.

The discussion reveals the current situation that although China has already built a sound technological system to deal with mixed municipal solid waste, it still lacks successful practices of technology application in terms of composting and anaerobic digestion to tackle the organic waste coming along with the huge national trend of waste classification. Due to the lack of standards and the sound market mechanism, China is the initial stage of building its organic waste management system. Taking the advanced management instruments and the whole life circle assessment system as examples it is necessary to consider both from the very beginning.

During the Forum all participants with different backgrounds came to the common understanding, that the goal of waste sorting is to reduce the general waste production and decrease the environmental impact of the waste sector by increasing the utilization value of waste through recycling and reuse, as well as awareness raising in the population.

Taking the fruitful results from both sessions back to its work plan, the IWM NAMA project will further facilitate more in-depth and tailored exchange by introducing international best available techniques (BAT), best environmental practices (BEP) and furthermore pave the way towards a low-carbon and sustainable future of China’s waste management sector.