Excessive Packaging Adds to Environmental Woes

Excessive packaging is being held partially responsible for the problems with waste disposal facing many of China's cities, according to statistics from the Ministry of Construction (MOC).

Of the 3 million tons of rubbish generated in Beijing each year, 30 percent, or 830,000 tons, are disposed packaging. 600,000 tons, or 20 percent of the total annual total, is considered to be "excessive.", according to a Xinhua report.

By international standards, packaging that accounts for more than 15 percent of the cost of the product is considered excessive.

Xinhua quoted Wang Weiping, a senior engineer at the Beijing Management Administration Commission, as saying that Beijing spends 1 billion yuan (US$123 million) on rubbish disposal.

Wang added: "If excessive packaging was reduced, the city could save 200 million yuan (US$24.6 million) a year."

Gu Lairu, director of Beijing's Chaoyang District Disposal Centre, said packaging was major contributor to the city's rubbish crisis, accounting for over 35 percent of household waste.

Most packaging is made of glass, metal and plastics, materials which cannot be easily re-used or recycled.

Experts also argue that shiny packaging materials in particular can contain chemicals which might pose a threat to people's health. Packaging also puts a strain on the country's limited natural resources.

(China Daily August 1, 2005)



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