In March 2017, the General Office of the State Council issued the Implementation Plan for the Domestic Waste Classification System, which requires the compulsory classification of domestic waste in 46 key cities across the country, which is a major leap forward in China's waste management process. However, the core issue of "what is the main purpose of compulsory garbage classification" determines a series of links such as how to classify, how to collect and transport, how to dispose of garbage, etc., determines the flow of domestic garbage and the implementation effect of garbage classification policy, and further clear consensus needs to be formed at the practical level.
For a long time, all sectors of society have not had a unified and unclear understanding of many links in the process of garbage classification and governance. Although the Implementation Plan of the Domestic Waste Classification System issued in 2017 proposes that garbage classification should achieve the purpose of reduction, recycling, and harmlessness, at the practical level, different cities and departments have different garbage classification standards due to different cognitions of the main purpose of garbage classification. At present, the main goal of cities is to separate kitchen waste or wet waste from household waste, and many cities also use this as an important indicator to evaluate the effect of waste classification. Although cities can achieve end-of-line waste reduction through incineration, they cannot achieve the purpose of resource utilization and harmlessness, and it is difficult to promote the source reduction of garbage in the whole society.
When the main purpose of garbage sorting is not clear, the priority order of garbage treatment is also unclear. City managers often dispose of municipal solid waste in a convenient and economical manner. An important experience of garbage management in developed countries lies in clarifying the priority treatment order of garbage, institutionalizing it in the form of high-level laws, and penetrating into all walks of life and public life, gradually forming a general consensus of the whole society, thereby affecting the transformation of resource utilization and disposal mode in the whole society.
At present, clear waste prioritization needs to play a key role in coping with the dilemma of "garbage siege" and building a "waste-free city". In 2018, the General Office of the State Council issued the "Pilot Work Plan for the Construction of "Waste-free City" and the "Waste-free City" Construction Index System, which defined the concept of "waste-free city", that is, "a waste-free city is not without solid waste generation, nor does it mean that solid waste can be completely recycled, but an advanced urban management concept, aiming to ultimately achieve the goals of minimum solid waste generation, full resource utilization and safe disposal of the entire city, which requires long-term exploration and practice." This clarifies that the priority idea of China's waste classification management should be "no waste".
Therefore, China's waste classification and governance should make it clear that the meaning of reduction is source reduction rather than terminal reduction, and the source reduction (Reduce), reuse (Reuse) (Recycle) are respectively given priority to garbage disposal, and the priority of garbage treatment is used through legislation to become a guide to guide the production and life of all walks of life and the public. Under the guidance of such an order, the institutional arrangement and resource input of garbage treatment should be gradually transferred from the back-end to the front-end.
At the source of garbage generation, establish and improve the garbage metering and charging system and the compulsory garbage classification and recycling policy to restrict the generation of public domestic waste. Establish and improve the extended producer responsibility system and deposit system to restrict the generation of product waste by producers and operators.
At the end of garbage disposal, gradually improve the infrastructure and hardware conditions for resource recycling, and improve the technical level and treatment capacity of garbage recycling.