A guide to waste classification


Shanghai implements a four-category classification system for household waste — recyclable, hazardous, wet and dry waste.


Recyclable waste

When disposing of recyclable waste, keep it clean and dry to avoid pollution. Empty the contents of all packaging, clean it and then press it flat before disposal. Fragile items or those with sharp edges should be packaged before disposal.


- Paper: newspapers, cardboard boxes, books, paper-plastic aluminum composite packaging, paper bags and envelopes;

- Plastics: bottles, toys, oil bottles, tubes, food containers, foam plastics and hangers;

- Glass: glass bottles, magnifying glasses, glass cups, window glass and broken glass;

- Scrap metal: beverage cans, pots, screwdrivers, knives, nail clippers and blades;

- Textiles: leather shoes, clothes, bedsheets, pillows, bags and plush toys;

- Others: circuit boards, wires, sockets, wooden blocks and chopping boards.


Hazardous waste

When disposing of hazardous waste, handle it with care. Easily breakable items and expired medicines should be disposed of together with their packaging or wrapped separately. Pressure containers should be emptied before disposal.


- Nickel-cadmium batteries and mercury batteries: rechargeable batteries, nickel-cadmium batteries, lead-acid batteries, storage batteries and button batteries;

- Fluorescent tubes: fluorescent lamps, energy-saving lamps and halogen lamps;

- Medicines and packaging: expired medicines, medicine packaging, tablets and expired capsule medicines;

- Paint, solvents, and packaging: waste paint buckets, hair-dye containers, expired nail polish and nail polish remover;

- Mercury thermometers and blood pressure monitors;

- Film and photographic paper: X-ray films, photographic films, etc.


Wet waste

Wet waste is also known as organic waste and easily perishable biomass household waste. Wet waste should be separated from other types of waste from the moment it is generated. Try to drain off the water before disposal. If there is packaging, remove it before disposal.


- Food: grains, meat, aquatic products and processed foods, vegetables, seasonings, sauces, etc.

- Leftover: hot pot soup base, fish bones, small bones, tea leaves, coffee grounds, Chinese medicine, etc.

- Expired food: cakes, candies, dried foods, powdered foods, pet food, etc.

- Fruit and vegetable waste: fruit flesh, peels, stems, whole fruit, etc.

- Flowers and plants: potted plants, flowers, petals, branches, leaves, etc.


Dry waste

Dry waste is other household waste excluding recyclable, hazardous and wet waste. Dispose in dry waste collection containers and keep the surrounding environment clean.

Used tissues, toilet paper, diapers, pet pads, cat litter, cigarette butts, soiled paper, desiccants, soiled plastic, nylon products, woven bags, bubble wrap, large bones, hard shells, hair, ash, furnace slag, plastic, space sand, ceramic flower pots, adhesive products, old towels, disposable tableware, mirrors, ceramic products, bamboo products, products with complex compositions, etc.



In addition, there are other types of waste.

Large waste

Large waste can be scheduled for collection by waste recyclers or large waste collection and transportation units, or it can be disposed of at designated locations by responsible managers.

- Sofas, mattresses, beds and tables


Construction materials

Construction and household waste should be collected separately. Construction waste should be bagged and disposed of at designated construction waste disposal sites.

- Toilets, stones, bricks, waste mortar and discarded materials



Large electronic appliances can be scheduled for collection by standardized electronic waste recycling companies, or they can be disposed of according to the requirements of large waste management.

- Refrigerators, washing machines, televisions, air conditioners

Small electronic products can be disposed of according to the recycling methods for recyclable waste.

- Mobile phones, laptops, rice cookers


Source: Shanghai Landscaping & City Appearance Administrative Bureau