Since 1990, the amount of disposed waste in China had surged over three-fold in just three decades. In addition to the domestically produced garbage, the economy of waste importing did not help with the dire situation of waste disposal for China. Despite an introduction of banning the 24 kinds of waste from other countries, China is still receiving on average two million metric tons of solid waste each month, which was worth around 1.5 billion U.S. dollars. This year, Chinese government had announced a target of zero imported waste, which will hopefully lessen the pressure of waste management in the country.
Traditionally, sanitary landfill is the most common of waste handling in China, accounting for over half of the trash, while incineration would be slightly more common in villages due to a smaller scale and less tight supervision than the urban area. Due to tighter and tighter remaining capacity of landfills, China is also increasingly utilizing incineration to generate electricity. Since 2010, the energy capacity of renewable municipal waste had increased more than four times to 4.58GW in 2018. In 2017, the amount of energy generated from renewable municipal waste amounted to 19.44 GWh. Along with the technological advancement, the rate of capacity utilization of waste incineration for energy was also forecasted to increase from 77 percent to 82 percent by 2020.
In early 2019, an exceptionally tight obligatory waste recycling policy was introduced in Shanghai, being one of the pilot cities in waste recycling. Such habit was believed to take time for Chinese citizens to get used to, since the concept was still relatively new in China. This policy will hopefully ease the stress on landfill sites in China, and help the country in improving the dire situation of waste management and the quality of environment in the country.