The city near Beijing set to host the snow events when the Winter Olympic Games comes to the Chinese capital in 2022 is the latest battleground in efforts to clean up China's act when it comes to disposing of and recycling trash.
Dustbins have been installed under sidewalks in Zhangjiakou's Chongli district. Designed to reduce bad smells and be less unsightly than street-level bins, they come in pairs for recyclable and non-recyclable refuse.
People just need to step on a pedal to open the lids, while cleaners can raise the bins up to street level to empty them. At night, the covers light up to remind pedestrians that there are dustbins underground.
Chongli, a developing ski destination, is expected to welcome a lot of international visitors in four and half years' time when Beijing becomes the first city to hold both the summer and winter Olympic Games. Local officials want it to look smart.
However, while recycling is generally considered a civic responsibility in the West, it is still a relatively novel concept in China. The country has overtaken the U.S. as the world's largest trash generator, with the World Bank estimating that China will toss 1.4 million tons of trash a day by 2025, Bloomberg reported.
China earlier this year launched a campaign to encourage more recycling of waste, setting a goal of recycling 35 percent of the domestic trash by 2020. Sorting stations, garbage transport and other infrastructure will be established in 46 cities across the country this year.
In the southern city of Shenzhen, Guangdong Province, property management companies now face fines up to 5,000 yuan (about 729 U.S. dollars) if they fail to notify residents about bin locations and collection times. Institutions and organizations including government departments failing to sort their own waste will face a fine up to 1,000 yuan, and residents may be fined 50 yuan.