Environmental Monitoring and Assessment

, Volume 135, Issue 1–3, pp 21–30 | Cite as

The composition, trend and impact of urban solid waste in Beijing

  • Yi Xiao
  • Xuemei Bai
  • Zhiyun Ouyang
  • Hua Zheng
  • Fangfang Xing


This paper provides an overview of the trend of generation, composition, and management of municipal solid waste, and estimates the carbon emissions arising from municipal solid waste management in Beijing. The correlation analysis conducted shows that the generation of municipal solid waste in Beijing has been growing steadily, showing high correlations (r > 0.9) to the total GDP, per capita income, and the population. Food waste showed an increasing trend since 1990. Compared with the results of an investigation in 1990, ash and woodchips content in 2003 declined from 56% to 17%, while the percentage of paper and plastic increased from 10% to 29% over the same period. The calorific value of the municipal waste also increased, from 2,686 kJ/kg in 1990 to 4,667 kJ/kg in 2003, indicating that the waste is suitable for incineration. Currently, the source separation ratio of municipal waste is approximately 15%. About 94% of all the collected solid waste goes to the landfill while 4% is composted and 2% is incinerated. A moderate garbage collection fee is applied to both permanent and temporary residents in Beijing, but the willingness to pay for solid waste collection and treatment is still low. Under current treatment mode, the total amounts of carbon emission from waste disposal sites and incineration increased with the increase of municipal solid waste, from 29.8 Gg in 1990 to 84.5 Gg in 2003, including 83.3 Gg of CH4 and 22.0 Gg of CO2. The data availability and methodological challenges in monitoring the quantity and characteristics of municipal solid waste are discussed.


Municipal solid waste Carbon emission Solid waste management Beijing 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2007

Authors and Affiliations

  • Yi Xiao
    • 1
  • Xuemei Bai
    • 2
  • Zhiyun Ouyang
    • 1
  • Hua Zheng
    • 1
  • Fangfang Xing
    • 1
  1. 1.State Key Lab of Systems Ecology, Research Center for Eco-Environmental SciencesChinese Academy of SciencesBeijingChina
  2. 2.Urban Systems ProgramCommonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research OrganizationCanberraAustralia

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