Case Study: Kitchen Waste Management (Nanning, China)

2018-08-13 00:00:00

By SU Xingguo/Guangzhou City Administration Technologies Research Center

Nanning was a deserving city of the 3rd Guangzhou International Award for Urban Innovation in 2016. This study tour took place during August 22nd and 23rd, 2017.


At the beginning of 2017, the living garbage disposal capacity of urban areas in Nanning City reached 3,100 tons per day, which mainly depend on living waste incineration power generation projects and other facilities at Pingli Venous Industrial Park, Nanning, to achieve 100% harmless disposal of urban living waste. However, restaurant waste rely upon the Nanning Project to realize resource recycling utilization and decontamination disposal. 

In July 2011, the National Development Committee and other departments issued the “Implementation Plan for the Implementation of the Pilot Program for the Resource Utilization and Harmless Treatment of Restaurant Waste in 33 Cities (Regions) Including in Chaoyang District, Beijing, etc., and Confirmed These Cities as a Pilot Cities (regions) (No. 1669 of the National Development and Reform Commission [2011]). And this notification explicitly included Nanning as one of the first pilot cities for the resource recycling utilization and harmless treatment of restaurant waste. In 2012, the Nanning municipal government adopted the BOT (Build Operate Transfer) construction model. After public bidding, it was determined that the company of Guangxi Lande was responsible for restaurant waste collection, transportation, and disposal. In September 2013, the Nanning municipal government signed a relevant service agreement with Guangxi Lande in terms of procurement services. The city government subsidies the total unit price for restaurant waste disposal 279.5 yuan/ton, of which 102.8 yuan/tonare food and garbage collection and transportation fees and 176.7 yuan/ton are  disposal fees.


1. Program Implementation 

The Nanning Project adopts the BOT model for construction. In August 2012, Zhengzhou Lande Environmental Protection Technology Co., Ltd. was responsible for the integrated service of project collection, transportation, and disposal through public bidding. In September 2013, the Nanning municipal government authorized the Nanning Urban Management Bureau to sign the Franchise Agreement and the Restaurant Waste Disposal Service Agreement with the winning bidder, Zhengzhou Lande Environmental Protection Technology Co., Ltd. Soon afterwards, the implementation subject of the project, Guangxi Lande Renewable Energy Co., Ltd. in Nanning was established by Zhengzhou Lande. The project was approved by Nanning City in January 2013, then was approved to reasearch in February, obtained the construction permit in March, completed trial operations in December 2014, and entered into commercial operation in March 2015. At present, the second phase of the project is undergoing. After completion, the total processing capacity of restaurant garbage in Nanning will reach 450 tons per day.

2. Legal basis and competent department

In March 2014, the Nanning municipal government implemented the Nanning Restaurant Waste Management Plan which standardizes the harmless treatment and resource recycling utilization of restaurant garbage in Nanning. This plan also states that the management of restaurant waste in Nanning follows the principal of centralized collection and transportation, fixed-point disposal, market operation, comprehensive utilization, and reasonable charging. The specific specifications for the production, collection, transportation, and disposal of local food waste are determined. All these provide legal protection for the smooth implementation of the project.

The plan clarifies that the Nanning City Administrative Bureau is the department  responsible for the implementation of the project construction, and for the supervision of the project operation after its completion . In April 2015, the government in  Nanning City issued the “Special Treatment of Restaurant Garbage Management Implementation Plan in Nanning City” and the “Special Work Plan for Receiving Illegal Receipt and Transportation of Restaurant Garbage in Nanning” to further coordinate, guide and promote the standardized management of restaurant waste in Nanning.

3. The Leadership and Collaboration of Stakeholders

Work on restaurant garbage in Nanning follows the government-led, market-based, and public-involved management approaches, which are embodied in the municipal government procurement of the integrated services of Guangxi Lande including collection and transportation. Guangxi Lande is responsible for the collection, transportation, and disposal of restaurant garbage generated by catering companies, which are obliged to hand over food and beverage waste to Guangxi Lande. The Nanning Project is a public welfare of municipal infrastructure. It involves a large number of interested parties and has a complex relationship. It mainly contains stakeholders such as government departments, social enterprises, local residents, catering companies, and original catering garbage illegal collectors.

During the management of restaurant garbage disposal, in order to make the work implemented in a forward-looking and coordinated way, the Nanning municipal government established a leading group for project construction. The leading group is responsible for leading, planning and coordinating project construction, and resolving administrative problems and related issues involving planning, land acquisition, environmental assessment, and reporting so as to ensure that the project be successfully put into operation. In that way, social welfaresuch as harmless treatment of kitchen waste and food safety protection will be achieved.

At the same time, the government set up a special kitchen waste management office. The members of this include the municipal urban management bureau, food and drug bureau, public security bureau, agricultural bureau and other relevant administrative departments to implement special law enforcement on catering units in the administrative district, which is done to solve the problem of collection and transportation of catering wastes and ensure the orderly delivery of food waste. Examples of collection and transportation problems include various types of behaviors such as the resistance against legal collection and transportation. All these action seriously touched on the interests of catering companies and illegal collectors of food waste. 

Guangxi Lande Corporation is the implementation subject of this project, and it is the specific response point for various stakeholders, and is the main body for establishing a collection and transportation system and a disposal system. The company effectively promoted  harmony between the project and the local community through economic back-feeding work such as by attracting the local labor force.


After the commercial operation of the Nanning Project, the average daily disposal volume has reached 230 tons, and it is in a fully-loaded state of operation. It basically achieves the goals of integratingproject construction and operation, enterprise-oriented operation, and intelligent supervision and management. Therefore, The Nanning Project won the third Guangzhou Award for Expert Recommended City in 2016. In May 2017, it was successfully selected as a typical case of the second batch of PPP (Public-Private-Partnership) projects of the National Development and Reform Commission, and in June 2017, it passed the test of the National Development and Reform Commission, the Ministry of Finance, and the Ministry of Housing and Urban-Rural Development on the pilot city of the 2017 kitchen waste resource recycling utilization and harmless treatment.


It is a difficult issue in the project construction to promote harmonious co-existence betweenthe local project and the collection and transportation of food waste.


1. Introducing foreign advanced technology to cast key links and ensure the project’s successful operation

The Nanning Project benefits from the supervision of restaurant food waste, which allows for a low impurity rate inthese. It also benefits from the introduction of DODA-biomass separation technology from Italy. Inorganic materials such as plastics are effectively separated  with a separation rate of 95%. And organic materials are crushed and pulped. In that way, the integrated separation of organics and inorganics is achieved, so that the pre-treatment of food waste in kitchens is closed, automated, highly efficient, and intensive. It solves not only the problem of odor treatment from the source, but also the key issues of the “dust-free pulping” of the anaerobic treatment of food waste. All these guarantee the subsequent anaerobic treatment. Anaerobic fermentation process is achieved by the introduction of Belgium's OWS-DRANCO, a kind of high-temperature anaerobic fermentation technology. Anaerobic fermentation performances under high temperature (52 ~ 55 °C), and the anaerobic tank is designed as a 45 ° cone -shaped to make sure that slurry pump can be back mixed. Therefore it avoids any scum from the top of the anaerobic tank, and the common problems such as anaerobic tank stirring, difficulty in sedimentation and clearing, and easy corrosion are solved, so as to achieve the goal of continuous and long-term stable operation without maintenance.

2. The “integration” of project construction, operation, collection and transportation inject vitality into the project.

Based on the BOT (Build-Operate-Transfer) model, selecting the successful bidder through open bidding, and adopting the municipal government procurement service, the Nanning Project bundles project construction, operations, and collection and transportation of catering wastes to achieve one-stop services for the entire process of catering waste collection, transportation, and disposal, which reduces government burdens, and reduces the contradiction between the convergence of government and enterprises caused by changes in the composition of food waste. At the same time, it also reinforces the company's management responsibility in the whole process, and increases the vitality of the enterprise, which is what has been allowing the project to run smoothly since March of 2015.


1. Focusing on solid foundation and starting projects from high point

In the early stage of the Nanning Project, the Nanning municipal government established a project construction work leading group led by the deputy mayor, to conduct a strong unified leadership and coordination of the project, adopt a high starting point for the design and positioning of project, provide professional operating services, and give full play to the "protecting" role to ensure that the project can be successfully implemented.

2. Attaching great importance to constructing a corporate sharing mechanism and balancing government-enterprise cooperation

The government-enterprise work responsibility is clearly defined: the government is responsible for the project's legal guarantee, construction and coordination, the construction of the restaurant waste collection and disposal supervision system; the government also guarantees that the purchase of the service subsidy is paid in full and in time; the company is responsible for the construction of the project, the collection and transportation of catering waste. Thereby, this project strikes a good balance between the cooperation of the government and enterprises.

3. Focusing on inter-departmental operation and establishing a smart supervision platform

The government in Nanning set up a linking mechanism for various related administrative departments and jointly established a special work office to guide and coordinate the management of restaurant waste. The restaurant waste supervision department was established to supervise and manage the entire process of food waste collection, transportation and disposal. About 7.3 million yuan was invested to establish a “five-in-one” kitchen waste intelligence supervision platform to supervise the residents' kitchen waste, catering food waste, waste grease, transportation vehicles, and waste disposal. 

4. Taking methods to achieve the active cooperation of food and beverage companies

(1) Nanning City has guided public opinion, and created an atmosphere by conducting comprehensive and multi-faceted publicity on the harmless treatment of restaurant garbage, which enable the public to recognize, understand, support, and cooperate with the management of restaurant waste.

(2) Providing on-site service to catering companies: The project strives for business support and cooperation through the signing of a free-of-charge food and beverage collection and transportation service agreement with enterprises.Providing, also for free,dedicated catering garbage collection barrels and offering services such as cleaning the relevant areas.

(3) Conducting special operations, strictly enforcing the law, and deterring unlawful acts:  Nanning formulated a special rectification action plan to cope with illegal food waste collection and treatment as a key task for city management. And established a special law enforcement squadron to strengthen law enforcement. At the same time, Nanning City signed a target responsibility with each urban area to implement the responsibility of the local government, and encouraged the supervision of the streets and the community to form a regulatory joint force.

5. Attaching great importance to the construction of food waste terminal treatment facilities to accurately build food safety barriers

In order to realize the objective of harmless and resourceful processing of kitchen waste, Nanning aims to build food waste terminal treatment facilities with high-standards, high-efficiency and harmless treatment plants, so as to ensure food waste collection and treatment system has been gradually built. At present, the scale of harmless treatment of restaurant garbage in Nanning is 230 tons per day, and the total amount that restaurants have refused is about 150,000 tons, and 5,025 agreements have been signed with catering companies. This achievement has helped to promote food safety for the society, allowing food waste management to step up on more cities.

Lessons Learned

1. Establishing a sound legal and policy guarantee as solid foundation for project construction

The transformation of the restaurant waste disposal market, the elimination of the illegal interest chains, and the construction of the new environmental protection industry must be based on laws and policies to establish a solid foundation for the government to depend on. This is done so that the law enforcement of the government can be guaranteed, and illegal acts can be punished according to law. All these provide impetus and legal guarantees for the mechanism and thesystem of food waste treatment, as well as for promoting the legalization of project construction, and strengtheningurban food safety.

2. The government should play a “protecting” role in the food waste treatment items because they are public welfare projects.

The government’s protecting role can be divided into three segments.First of all, it is necessary to establish legal and policy support and formulate relevant management methods, policies and regulations. Second  is to strengthen the coordination of projects, so as to strongly lead and coordinate the whole process. AndThird is to build a restaurant waste collection, transportation and treatment system, to strengthen collection and supervision, and the enforcement of food waste discharge law to ensure the the collection and disposal of food waste can follow the law.

3. The “integrated” mode of the project can favorably balance the responsibilities of government and enterprises.

In order to achieve a balance between the public welfare and marketability of the project, we must find a balance point and form a pattern of social responsibility for both government and enterprises. Food waste disposal mainly involves five links including project construction, collection, transportation, processing, and supervision and management, which are bundled together to form an “integration” model. The government clarifies the government-enterprise work responsibility by purchasing “integrated” services, so as to realize one-stop business services for food waste from collection, transportation, and processing. It not only reduces the contradiction between the government and enterprises caused by changes in the composition of food waste, but also reinforces the actual responsibility of the company to participate in the whole process of food and kitchen management, so that it increases the vitality of the company, reduces the burden on the government, and enables the government to focus on supervision and management.

4. Paying both attention to project operation, collection and transportation to ensure the sustainable development of the project.

The successful practice of the Nanning Project shows that the management of restaurant garbage must be carried out on both the project construction and the collection and transportation of restaurant garbage. That is to say, it should emphasize both at the same time. This requires the proper time management of project construction and collection and transportationallowing them to go hand in hand. In just over six months, Nanning City has established a food waste collection and transportation system, which has formed a covering pattern to ensure the supply of raw materials for the project. 

5. Promoting harmony, and gaining understanding and supporting through Changing concept, taking initiative to serve, and strictly enforcing the law.

The government is supposed to enable people to recognize, understand and change their ideas and create a good social atmosphere through continuous and comprehensive publicity.

Collection and transportation companies must strengthen their awareness of active services and provide catering companies with free dedicated food and beverage collection bins, cleaning and other services in exchange for the support of catering companies.

The law enforcement must be strict. Only united and standardized law enforcement procedures can improve the quality of law enforcement.


1. Strengthening government guidance, market operation, and participation of all citizens

Project construction must rely on the guidance, coordination and supervision of government. Only when the government correctly publicizes and guides social ideology can the project gain support from people; only strong coordination can guarantee the complementation of the project; only strict supervision and control can ensure the impartiality and public welfare of food waste management; and only promoting waste classification, relying on the participation of all citizens, and classifying garbage at the source will ensure the continuous operation of the project.

2. “Integration” construction mode can inject vitality into the project and reduce government burden

In the area of food and beverage waste disposal, the "integration" construction mode has become mainstream, where enterprises are responsible for project construction, collection and the government is only responsible for the implementation of the project and the purchase of "one-stop" services. This model has eased the government’s burdens in the collection and transportation links, and has also avoided pushing responsibility between government and enterprises. The successful experience of catering waste disposal can also provide some references for citizens’ kitchen waste disposal projects.

3. The government strictly enforces the law in order to make the catering waste disposal work successful.

The government in Nanning investigated and dealt with illegal activities, shocked the unruly elements through special actions and strict law enforcement. These measures have resulted in 5,025 catering companies signing a collection and transportation agreement. And the daily collection and transportation of catering waste reaches to 230 tons, which realize the full-load processing of the project. Therefore, this experience is worth learning from.