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Recycling sustainability of waste paper industry in Beijing City: An analysis based on value chain and GIS model

Yang, Guang, Zhou, Chuanbin, Wang, Wenlai, Ma, Shijun, Liu, Hongju, Liu, Yijie, Zhao, Zhilan
Waste management 2020 v.106 pp. 62-70
cities, economic sustainability, geographic information systems, interviews, issues and policy, models, operating costs, paper, paper recycling, pulp and paper industry, stakeholders, supply chain, waste paper, China
China established a self-organized and market-driven recycling system, which was dominated by the informal sectors. In recent years, the amount of domestically-recycled waste paper grew slower than expectation in China, which may be resulted from a decline in economic sustainability of current recycling system. For understanding the waste paper recycling system in most cities in China, the economic mechanism remains unclear and the city-level data is extremely insufficient. In this work, an index of recycling sustainability (IRS, benefit divided by cost) is analyzed with a resolution of 1 km² grid in Beijing City, by adopting value chain and GIS methodology. Five degrees of IRS are defined, from high-degree (IRS > 1.10) to low-degree (IRS < 0.95). Different stakeholders in the informal waste paper recycling system were interviewed to fill the data gap. Results show that: (1) from 2015 to 2018, the informal recycling of waste paper accounted for approximate 80% in Beijing; (2) the number of informal recyclables distribution sites decreased from 27 to 11, and their average distance to the city-center rose from 27.5 km to 40.9 km; (3) in 2015 and 2018, the grids with high-degree IRS accounted for 99.5% and 89.2%, respectively, indicating a sustainable waste paper recycling industry in Beijing; and (4) according to the scenario analysis, if the operating cost rises by 30%, the grids with low-degree IRS accounts for 98.5%, indicating a nontrivial challenges when the recycling cost keeps increasing in the future. Policy recommendations are put forward for a more sustainable paper waste recycling system in China.