A comparison of waste reduction practices and the new environmental paradigm in four southern Chinese areas

Shan Shan Chung, Chi Sun Poon

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review

19 Citations (Scopus)


This paper compares the public attitudes on waste recycling and avoidance and the New Environmental Paradigm (NEP) of four places in South China, namely, Hong Kong, Guangzhou, Dongguan, and Yuanzhou in southern China. It was found that rural Chinese were the most acceptant of the NEP view, followed by people from Hong Kong. The current acceptance of the NEP view by Guangdong citizens was similar to that of the Hong Kong citizens and the late 1970s U.S. citizens. Also, the present level of acceptance of NEP by Hong Kong public at large is higher than that of 7 years ago. On domestic waste recycling, it was found that source separation of domestic waste in mainland China was supported by 85% of the urban population and about 11-13% of the household waste was recovered and sold by the householders for financial gains. It was also found that the lower income group tended to recover a greater portion of waste, indicating that voluntary waste recovery activities in mainland China were carried out largely due to economic reasons. Thus, the Western type of source separation program in which residents are requested to separate recyclables for the community may not be welcomed in mainland China. In Hong Kong, despite the presence of community waste recovery programs, the recovery of domestic waste is only about 6% and is therefore less than those of the mainland Chinese cities surveyed. On the choice of source separation programs, it was found that Hong Kong people ranked familiarity a more important criterion than convenience. Therefore, the collection frequency of recyclables and time and place for setting out recyclables should be as similar to those of normal waste collection as possible to attract high participation in source separation programs.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)195-206
Number of pages12
JournalEnvironmental Management
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 1 Aug 2000


  • Dongguan
  • Guangzhou
  • Hong Kong
  • Household waste
  • New Environmental Paradigm
  • Rural China
  • Waste avoidance
  • Waste recycling

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Environmental Science(all)
  • Environmental Chemistry


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