Perseverance is the Key to Win Victory in the “Protracted War” of Waste Sorting

Released on:2018-10-09


(Text by Reporter Huang Jingjing) In a corner of Jing’an Guihuayuan Community at No. 660, Wanhangdu Road, there are 9 dustbins lining up on the clean and tidy ground without any odor. It’s interesting that the dustbins are all wearing “coats”. Sheng Xinhua, a Building Chief of the community has told the reporter that with the help of the years-long promotion of waste sorting, most of the community residents have developed the good habit of throwing the trash periodically. Therefore, there is no need for the dustbins to “stay open for the users all the time”.


Since 2014, when the waste sorting green account activity was launched, the engagement rate of Guihuayuan in waste sorting has almost reached to 100%. Dry and wet wastes are sorted in one step, and the types of recyclable wastes are further subdivided. Why waste sorting is promoted so well in Guihuayuan? Many residents have indicated that the volunteer team led by Aunt Sheng Xinhua plays an important role in it.


Before retirement, Sheng Xinhua had been working in the public health authorities for many years. Since 2014, she has been serving as the building chief of Guihuayuan. There are 157 households in Guihuayuan. Sheng Xinhua knows well that individual power is limited, and she should rely on activists to mobilize the community residents. Therefore, she conferred with the director of the committee of the property owners, the manager of the property management company, and the neighborhood committee, and established a community team for co-building spiritual civilization. The volunteer team is consisted of 11 volunteers, among which, the oldest member was 80 years old. The volunteers patrolled the placement point of the waste sorting dustbins from 6:00 a.m. to 9:00 a.m. and 6:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m. every day to do the waste sorting obligation guidance work well, and to guide the residents to throw the trash into the appointed dustbins correctly.


Although Sheng Xinhua encountered many difficulties and barriers when she just started to promote waste sorting, she didn’t feel anxious, but indicated that the promotion of waste sorting was a perseverance-based protracted war. She had a “100-day Plan” in three stages.


In the first month, Sheng Xinhua and the volunteers stood far away from the dustbins for observation, and walked towards the residents who didn’t sort the wastes when throwing them away to re-sort the wastes for them. They encouraged the residents unremittingly, gave them some trash bags, and told them how to sort the wastes.


In the second month, Sheng Xinhua and the volunteers posted a large waste sorting scoreboard in a conspicuous place in the community. The households participating in waste sorting and accumulating green account credits every day would get a red five-pointed star; those participating in waste sorting but failing in accumulating green account credits would get a green five-pointed star; those who didn’t participate in waste sorting would get a blue five-pointed star; those with waste sorting volunteers or young and old waste sorting activists would get two five-pointed stars. “The residents didn’t participate in waste sorting felt stressed after the scoreboard was published, and their enthusiasm for participating in waste sorting increased significantly.” Sheng Xinhua recalled.


In the third month, periodical waste dumping was conducted. Since waste dumping mostly occurred in the morning and at night, and seldom occurred at noon, the dustbins were opened from 6:00 a.m. to 9:00 a.m. and 6:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m., and were closed at noon, when there would be volunteers standing guard near the dustbins. When encountering residents coming to throw the trash at noon, the volunteers would advise them to do it intensively in the morning or at night. On the 100th day, the periodical and fixed-spot waste dumping was formally conducted in the community. The operation company clears the wastes in the morning and at night, greatly reducing the residence time of the wastes in the community. The problem of smelly dustbins troubling the residents for a long time has been resolved.


Apart from leading the volunteer team to watch the dustbins periodically at the fixed spots, Sheng Xinhua has also taken many other measures. For example, she promoted the “Small Hands Hold Big Hands” event to start with the children, and then let the children urge and lead their parents to form the good habit of sorting wastes. Another example is that she paid special attention to housekeeping personnel and tenants, to strengthen their awareness of waste sorting...


Tenants are often out at work in the daytime and usually come back home late at night. Sheng Xinhua and the volunteer team knocked their doors one by one at night with trash bags to offer door-to-door communication on waste sorting and the methods of exchanging the credits for items, and to tell them the rules of the community, which achieved relatively remarkable effects. As housekeeping personnel have relatively high liquidity, Sheng Xinhua informed the landlords to tell the housekeeping personnel the waste sorting requirements. During the Christmas, she invited all of the housekeeping personnel, to give them Christmas gifts such as chocolates to show her gratitude for their contributions to the community environment, by which the housekeeping personnel were deeply moved. Since then, they have also been participating in waste sorting of their own accord.


Now there is no need for the volunteers to watch the dustbins in the Guihuayuan. “Waste sorting is nothing difficult to do, but it's no easy work as well. Perseverance is the key point.” Sheng Xinhua said.