Alipay's "Garbage Collection" Pilot Service Expands to Another 30 Buildings and Parks in Jing'an

Released on:2019-03-15


The "Alipay Waste Sorting and Recycling" pilot project in more than 100 communities in Jiangning Road Sub-district and Pengpu Town of Jing'an District last year was well received by residents. The coverage of this pilot project is increased to business circles and buildings this year; so white collars can also tap their mobile phone and wait for the recycling officer to come and collect the waste paper, bottles and cans on the table.

On the afternoon of March 7, an employee of Shanghai New Factories Culture Development Co., Ltd. opened Alipay and tapped city service, finding the new section of "waste sorting and recycling".

The operation is quite simple: fill in your company, place a recycling order, select the type of garbage to be recycled, upload the photos of the garbage and then wait for a recycling officer to come and collect. After weighing and calculating the price, the income from selling garbage was transferred to the Alipay account of the employee. This employee delivered less than 250 grams of express boxes and received 0.2 yuan.

On-the-spot collection and price settlement

At present, there are more than 10 pilot units selling recyclable materials through Alipay in Shanghai. Gao Xiang, Deputy General Manager of Cangyu Energy Saving & Environmental Protection Technology Co., Ltd., the operation and maintenance party of the project, disclosed that this year, Jing'an District will promote this model in more than 30 buildings or parks, such as Mary Kay Building in Jiangning Road Sub-district.

At the same time, the coverage of this model for residential areas will also be expanded, currently covering 99 communities in Jiangning Road Sub-district and 84 communities in Pengpu Town of Jing'an District, as well as 10 communities in Youyi Road Sub-district of Baoshan District.

Breaking the "dimensional wall" of waste recycling

The combination of Alipay and domestic waste sorting and recycling has broken the long-standing "dimensional wall" between the source of recyclable materials and recycling sites.

With the deepening of the "integration of two systems (integration of renewable resource recovery and domestic waste sorting)" in recent years, the number of community waste sorting and recycling service sites in Shanghai has increased rapidly. As of now, about 3,000 recycle service sites of "integration of two systems" and over 100 transfer stations have been built in Shanghai.

Community waste sorting and recycling service sites in Shanghai have many functions, and become more and more beautiful Photograph by Jiang Diwen

However, quantity is not equal to quality. Although some recycling service sites are clean and tidy and have complete facilities, their appeal to surrounding residents, especially young "office workers", is limited. The "inherent problem" is that the traditional recycling methods are not convenient and "attractive".

Gao Xiang said that after preliminary investigation, they found the waste sorting and recycling service sites in the community can only attract the elderly basically. Half of them go to the service site after they have saved up enough recyclable materials, while the other half are used to calling the recycling officer and making face-to-face transactions at home. As for young people, they normally throw recyclable materials directly into the garbage can downstairs, and are unwilling to make a phone call.

Besides, many units are the "blind spots" in the integration of two systems. There is no quick recycling channel for employees and recycling officers even cannot get into these units.

"Since there are so many apps, why can't we design one for waste recycling?" Zhang Hongming, a relevant official of Alipay, said that when designing the "waste sorting and recycling" section, there are two most important points: first, to make waste recycling more convenient and available anytime and anywhere; second, to make it quick to cash in or create value.

The administrator of the integration of two systems will weigh the waste paper and immediately transfer the income from selling the waste to the Alipay account of the user.

In fact, there have been many "Internet + waste recycling" modes in recent years. They have made great efforts to meet the above two requirements, but with little success.

The staff of Urban Appearance Department of Jing'an District introduced to us that the main problems are insufficient users and weak incentive mechanism. By contrast, Alipay, as a large-flow platform with a wide range of users, has better improved the two weaknesses with a plan; meanwhile, the recycling function on Alipay can open up various rights and interests including Taobao, Tmall, Youku and Ant Forest to make the points in the account "spendable", thus providing positive incentives for the action of actively recycling garbage.

"Employees were hesitating when some recycling platforms were recommended to them in the past, but they would be eager to try Alipay because the app is widely used." The responsible person of New Factories told reporters that the recycling platform of Alipay is very standard. The handlers, trading volume, settlement amount and destination of all recyclable materials are clear at a glance, which is convenient for tracing and management.

The convenient and quick exchange method has attracted many young people

The "binding" of waste recycling and Alipay may become the key to the construction of "big data on recyclable materials". The reporter learned from Shanghai Landscaping & City Appearance Administrative Bureau that Shanghai now has a resource utilization amount of 1,100 tons a day of recyclable materials under the "integration of two systems". With the increasing refinement of source classification, the resource utilization amount of recyclable materials in Shanghai is expected to increase to 4,000-5,000 tons a day in the future.

Later, Alipay back-end data can be used to reasonably arrange the point location of "integration of two systems", flexibly allocate different types of transport vehicles and designate the most logical transport routes to achieve high efficiency of recycling. At that time, the output and trading frequency of recyclable materials of business circles, buildings and employees will become part of the "big data", providing suggestions for Shanghai to promote the "integration of two systems".

Making waste sorting more meaningful

The reporter noticed that when choosing the exchange method in Alipay's "waste sorting and recycling" function, people can exchange points in addition to cash.

Taking the plastic bottle as an example: one kilogram can exchange for about 1.8 yuan, or one kilogram of "energy" that can be converted into material object or coupons in an environmental protection mall. For instance, we can use one kilogram of "energy" to exchange for a 50% discount coupon for the sock set of a certain brand, which can be used at a discount of about 10 yuan; and “energy” of 200 kilogram can be exchanged into a 180 ml of floral water.

"We hope to guide people to exchange points instead of cash." Gao Xiang said that the value of most recyclable materials is relatively low; so the form of exchanging into cash is still difficult to attract more residents to participate in waste sorting, but converting into points is a way to "appreciate" recyclable materials. When recyclable materials become more valuable, it is more meaningful to classify them from garbage dumps, thus enabling more residents to identify with waste sorting.

It is revealed that Shanghai Landscaping & City Appearance Administrative Bureau is communicating with relevant units, hoping to introduce more valuable convertible goods or services, or even "scarce goods" that is hard to buy, into Alipay's waste sorting and recycling platform or Shanghai green account, so as to attract more people to participate in waste sorting.

"If waste sorting is done well, people can use points to redeem with priority the places for popular public welfare classes, performances and other community activities, or hard-to-get community public parking spaces." Relevant officials of the Municipal Bureau of Landscaping and City Appearance Administration said that this way is a useful attempt to enhance the incentives for waste sorting.

Many industry insiders also believe that Alipay's waste sorting and recycling platform or Shanghai green account should not be used as a "prize redeeming platform". Instead, they should try to introduce more public welfare resources to turn these platforms into incentive platforms of spiritual civilization, and encourage residents to exchange their points into volunteer services and opportunities for public welfare activities.

"Hard-to-get" community public welfare class Limited incentives have always been a difficulty in promoting the green account in Shanghai. Many enterprises, for public welfare causes, provide a large number of commodities for the green account to exchange with points, but these commodities are low in value and not attractive, especially for young people.

In addition, points can hardly be exchanged into commodities at once and are still in a mode of offline and delayed exchange. Only when the exchange demand of the community where the redeemer lives has accumulated to a certain amount will the staff of the green account brings the commodities together. This, to a certain extent, discourages people who find the process bothersome.