Bike Sharing Economy: Chinese company seeks ways to make industry more sustainable
Beijing is taking tough measures to put thousands of run-down shared bikes to rest. Now, one Chinese company is looking for ways to make the bike-sharing industry itself more sustainable. CGTN's Sun Tianyuan reports.
China was once known as "Kingdom of Bicycles". Today, it seems the title has turned against itself as the country faces an overflow shared bikes.
In the first half of 2019 alone, Beijing has gotten rid of over 380-thousand shared bikes after the city's transport commission saw how they affected traffic and the environment. But a conundrum remains -- how are discarded bikes dealt with after a clean-up?
LIU CHUNSHENG CENTRAL UNIVERSITY OF FINANCE & ECONOMICS "The government has implemented measures to limit the number of shared bikes. But waste management policies have not kept up. That's understandable because bike-sharing is a fairly new industry. There's no precedent from other countries, so China has to be creative with handling the issue on its own."
Chinese companies such as Mobike are looking for ways to give rejected bikes new lives. The Beijing-based company says it adopts the principle of three R's -- reduce, reuse, and recycle.
QIN HAO MOBIKE SENIOR SUSTAINABILITY EXPERT "All the bike components are designed to be durable so they can be used longer. Many of them are compatible to other generations of bikes, so they can be reused for a longer period of time."
As part of its green campaign, Mobike has already recycled nearly one-point-five million tires and 10-thousand tons of scrap metal. For irreparable parts, designers roll up their sleeves and get creative. However, it's all still far from enough.
SUN TIANYUAN BEIJING "More than 20 million sharing bikes have been launched nationwide by dozens of companies over the past few years. Mobile says half of them face retirement by next year. That's going to translate to 160,000 tons of solid waste. Recycling such an amount of scraps cannot fall solely on the companies."
QIN HAO MOBIKE SENIOR SUSTAINABILITY EXPERT "We can't do this alone. We encourage the whole industry, stakeholders to work together to improve the reuse and recycling process of all sharing bikes."
LIU CHUNSHENG CENTRAL UNIVERSITY OF FINANCE & ECONOMICS "The government needs to take more responsibility in supervising and assisting the industry in dealing with retired bikes. Also, many users cause damage to the bikes. The government should take stronger measures -- for example, introduce a credit system to punish misconducts like vandalism."
Mobike says it plans to use more recycled materials for its products as it contributes to efforts for the sustainable development of the bike-sharing industry. STY, CGTN, Beijing.