One man’s trash is an­other’s trea­sure

China Daily (Canada) - - FRONT PAGE - By XU JUN­QIAN in Shang­hai xu­jun­qian@chi­

Cities in China pro­duce over 200 mil­lion tons of garbage a year and Rub­ber­maid Com­mer­cial Prod­ucts (RCP), which sells trash­cans, mop­ping sys­tems and other com­mer­cial clean­ing prod­ucts, smells a busi­ness op­por­tu­nity amid the stench of rot­ting refuse.

More­over, the land needed to store all this refuse cov­ers 500 mil­lion square me­ters. But in terms of man­age­ment, waste­ful­ness in the lo­cal waste-dis­posal in­dus­try is rife.

The coun­try could save up to 30 bil­lion yuan ($4.84 bil­lion) a year by im­prov­ing its waste-man­age­ment and re­cy­cling fa­cil­i­ties, ac­cord­ing to lo­cal re­ports.

The sit­u­a­tion should start to im­prove af­ter China’s 26-yearold en­vi­ron­men­tal pro­tec­tion law was amended and im­ple­mented this year. Com­pa­nies and or­ga­ni­za­tions that fail to cor­rect trans­gres­sions can now be fined daily and the fines have no fixed lim­its.

As such, RCP, which is head­quar­tered in North Carolina, could hardly have cho­sen a bet­ter time to ac­cel­er­ate its ex­pan­sion and growth in the coun­try, one of its fastest­grow­ing mar­kets.

The com­pany, which both man­u­fac­tures and dis­trib­utes clean­ing prod­ucts, is cel­e­brat­ing its 20th year in China. A grow­ing part of its busi­ness in­volves pro­vid­ing sup­plies for of­fices in high rises.

“With­out a doubt, there is a mount­ing aware­ness of en­vi­ron­men­tal pro­tec­tion. And it’s be­com­ing more of a con­ver­sa­tion driven ob­vi­ously by gov­ern­ment and reg­u­la­tions passed,” said Laura Turn­bull, mar­ket­ing di­rec­tor of RCP’s Asia-Pa­cific re­gion.

The com­pany launched two col­lec­tions of waste-man­age­ment prod­ucts tai­lored for com­mer­cial spa­ces this year for the first time.

Work­ing with air­ports, com­mer­cial prop­erty man­age­ment groups and big ho­tel chains in China like Hy­att Group, RCP sells its prod­ucts far and wide from sub­trop­i­cal Sanya in Hainan province, a south­ern is­land dubbed “China’s Hawaii”, to north­ern Xi’an in Shaanxi province, fa­mous for its cat­a­combs of Ter­ra­cotta War­riors.

The com­pany’s sig­na­ture prod­uct, a plas­tic gray trash can called Brute, is one of the most widely used garbage re­cep­ta­cles in North Amer­ica.

The amount of trash China pro­duces is grow­ing at an alarm­ing rate — 8 to 10 per­cent per an­num, ac­cord­ing to yi­, a lo­cal busi­ness me­dia, putting it above the coun­try’s GDP growth — but there is also more cor­po­rate aware­ness of the need to dis­pose of it in an eco­nom­i­cal and sus­tain­able way.

RCP dou­bled its in­vest­ment in the coun­try in 2013. It also re­lo­cated its Asian head­quar­ters from Hong Kong to Shang­hai and dou­bled its lo­cal sales team.

It re­cently met an am­bi­tious growth tar­get of hav­ing rev­enue jump five­fold within two years. It is now con­sid­er­ing ac­quir­ing lo­cal man­u­fac­tur­ers to fur­ther cut costs, said Neil R. Ei­beler, its global pres­i­dent.

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