Rule to send gutter oil down the drain

Updated: 2011-11-19 08:40

By Zhao Yinan (China Daily)

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BEIJING - Starting in March, a person will have to have authorization before he can transport and recycle kitchen waste in Beijing.

That rule is coming as part of a campaign to prevent illegally recycled cooking oil from appearing on dining tables.

On Friday, the municipal legislature adopted a plan aimed at regulating the transportation and recycling of kitchen waste in Beijing. The plan forbids unauthorized companies and people from collecting and transporting restaurants' kitchen waste, which is a primary source of so-called gutter oil, or cooking oil that has been recycled illegally and reused in food.

Those who violate the regulation will face fines and even criminal punishments. The rule also gives the police and Chengguan, the city management office, the right to inspect vehicles that transport the waste.

Bu Shicheng, deputy director of the Beijing Municipal People's Congress' legislative affairs commission, said the plan is a step forward in Beijing's attempts to stop the illegal circulation of gutter oil. He said it is meant to establish a "comprehensive system to manage recycled waste" and "deal with this issue at its source".

The regulation will make the government establish centers where gutter oil can be processed. The government will also give restaurants economic assistance in order to encourage them to install waste-recycling machines and to process such waste on their own.

Bu said the regulation will place less of a burden on restaurants than did a previous draft, which went before lawmakers in September.

The draft said large restaurants had to install machines used to process waste but did not specify what constitutes a large establishment.

A restaurant manager who would only give his surname, Zhao, said the new regulation lifts some of the burdens that are on restaurant proprietors, especially those who have small businesses.

One place where Zhao is working, in Beijing's Haidian district, has managed to obtain an oil-processing machine that converts about 2,000 kilograms of kitchen waste into fertilizer a day. Zhao said it is "unreasonable" to ask all restaurants to install such recycling machines, which costs about 380,000 yuan ($60,000) each.

"It'll be a big burden for us in addition to inflation," he said. "And we should receive some government money for this."

Besides the rules for recycling kitchen waste, the proposal also established an incentive arrangement to be used for the disposal of ordinary refuse. The plan charges reduced garbage-disposal fees to people who take time to separate their garbage according to the government's requirements.