Talking about waste category, it took a while for me to think. In the first place, sorting recycling properly is almost an impossible goal to achieve here, since we don’t really have a system that functions well enough to do this.
We have categorizing trash cans in the public washrooms where each dorm empties their waste bins, but I don’t think there are workers who deal with the categorized trash, and neither do the other students. So we don’t take the categorizing trash cans seriously, but do as we think is effective for ourselves.
In most parts of China, we have waste collectors who go to the trash cans in search of the waste that can be recycled. They get these recyclable wastes and sell them to the processing factories or whoever needs them. They collect waste paper, wrappers, used batteries, most bottles and pop-top cans, etc.
So what do we do? That’s a good question. In my university, there are also some old people who get a large plastic bag and collect waste bottles directly from us instead of going to the trash cans. Though we rarely buy bottled beverages, whenever we buy it, we gather the bottles in the dorm and send them to the collector.
In the dorm, we keep the fruit peels and put them into the flower pot so they can provide nutrition to the flowers. The worn-out jeans are kept, too. They can be used to mend bags or not-so-important clothes. Since we can’t totally stop using plastic, we keep it for the waste bin so it’s used at least twice.
What’s more, we reuse the paper boxes for the goods we purchase online to build shelves. It makes full use of space and saves us money for shelves. Jing Hu came up with the idea and built the first one in our dorm, and we all think it stunning. The shelf really works well and its height can be added if you get new boxes. How creative she is!
I hope one day our city can build a well-functioning waste categorizing and recycle system so we can do this more easily and more effectively. But until then, we will just do whatever we can to spoil less and reuse more.