In a community in Qixia District, Nanjing, “kuaidi” (courier), Jiao Yuwei, called a customer; “Ms. Zhou, you have made an appointment for online garbage collection. I have already arrived. If you are at home right now, I will come up”.
Should we be at all surprised that for those people who order take away two or three times a day there also now exist courier services to take away their waste?
In fact, the true identity of the aforementioned Jiao is as a garbage collector for Nanjing Zhida Environmental Protection Technology, a company which spent over ¥1 million on research into various people’s processing of waste. According to a report by Nanjing Daily, the firm found that, “Many young people encountered difficulties in cleaning up garbage”.
According to Jiao, his “courier” work is closely related to the “New Recycling”, a WeChat mini program that has recently been launched in Nanjing. Users only need to enter address, name and contact information when logging in for the first time, and then select from four types of garbage options; paper, plastic, metal and fabric, according to their needs. The mini program then instructs the courier to make collection.
Proponents of the technology suggest that by bringing people such a convenience, it can also help users to learn how to classify garbage.
Jiao said that after picking up the garbage, he will send it to the nearest garbage sorting centre. According to the data of such, customers can receive credit by way of incentive.
Through this mini program, Zhou Wei, who lives on the sixth floor of a residential community in Yaohua Sub District of Qixia District, was able to not only solve the problem of discarded cardboard and cans at home, but also qualified for 82 points in return, equaling a cash withdrawal to WeChat of ¥8.2.
Zhida Environmental is not the only player in town to be tackling recycling utilising couriers. In fact, during the first half of 2019, Alipay launched their “Garbage Sorting and Recycling Platform”, although for the time being, in Nanjing it is limited to the recycling of home appliances. The service can be found in the “City Service” section of Alipay.
Elsewhere, the program is already more fully developed. In Suzhou for example, the system supports the most valuable of recyclable materials; paper, glass, metal and fabric, as cited above. A monetary value is therefore relatively easy to assign; 1 kg of plastic bottles can be exchanged for 1 kg of “energy”, that can then be redeemed in an “eco shop”.
Zhida Environmental claim that at present, the company recycles 120,000 tons of “offline garbage” per day. It estimates that the new mini app has the potential to triple this number.
China’s youth will then not only be able to differentiate between paper and metal; soon they will be able to conquer remedial math too.