Community-based Tool for Sustainable Transition: Reflection on a Garbage Sorting Experiment in Beijing

TONG Xin†, TAO Dongyan, FENG Ling, WEN Bufan

ACTA Scientiarum Naturalium Universitatis Pekinensis - - Contents -

College of Urban and Environmental Sciences, Peking University, Beijing 100871; † E-mail:

Abstract With a review on the community-based tool developed from common resource management in three perspectives: behavior studies, governance evolution, as well as the scale issue when addressing broader impacts of local collective actions, this paper presents an experimental garbage-sorting initiative in Hongfuyuan (H community), a residential community in northern suburb Beijing. Firstly, the behavior change of the participating households was studied as response to the continuous promotions for three years. The finding is that constant onsite communications were important in shaping people’s attitudes and behaviors, while economic incentives could be effective only in short term. Second, the evolution of the governance structure among all stakeholders in this program was reflected and compared with other communities using the same technology. The result shows that the difference in key enablers in the program could have significant impact on the sorting behavior in practice. Third, the discussion was extended from the community action to the urban waste management system in large, and suggested that the emerging scheme of Extended Producer Responsibility could be helpful to make this kind of programs into sustainable business model by including critical external players into the governance structure. In conclusion, the implications of this research were proposed to apply the participatory approaches in community planning by bridging the scientific research of material flow analysis to the social actions towards sustainable production and consumption. Key words community-based tool; behavior; governance; garbage-sorting

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