A rubbish story – China’s mega-dump full 25 years ahead of schedule

15th November 2019 | Recycling

China’s largest dump is already full – 25 years ahead of schedule. The Jiangcungoug landfill in Shaanxi Province which is the size of around 100 football fields, was designed to take 2,500 tonnes of rubbish per day. But instead it received 10,000 tonnes of waste per day – the most of any landfill site in China.

China is one of the world’s biggest polluters, and has been struggling for years with the rubbish its 1.4 billion citizens generate.

The Jiangcungou landfill in Xi’an city was built in 1994 and was designed to last until 2044. The landfill serves over 8 million citizens. It spans an area of almost 700,000 square meters, with a depth of 15o meters and a storage of more than 34 million cubic metres. Until recently, Xi’an was one of the few cities in China that solely relied on landfill to dispose of household waste – leading to capacity being reached early.

Earlier this month, a new incineration plant was opened, and at least four more are expected to open by 2020. Together, they are expected to be able to process 12,750 tonnes of rubbish per day. The move is part of a national plan to reduce the number of landfills, and instead use other waste disposal methods like incineration.


The landfill site in Xi’an will eventually become an “ecological park.”

In 2017, China collected 215 million tonnes of urban household waste, according to the country’s statistical yearbook. That’s up from 152 million ten years earlier. The country had 654 landfill sites and 286 incineration plants.

It is not clear what China’s recycling rate is, as not figures have been released. China plans to recycle 35% of waste in major cities by the end of 2020, according to one government report. This July, sorting and recycling rubbish was made mandatory in Shanghai – leading to “a sense of panic” among some residents.

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