Exploring business models for carbon emission reduction via post-consumer recycling infrastructures in Beijing: An agent-based modelling approach

Xin Tong*, Haofan Yu, Ling Han, Tao Liu, Liang Dong, Filippos K. Zisopoulos, Benjamin Steuer, Martin de Jong

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

16 Citations (Scopus)
157 Downloads (Pure)


The potential for carbon emissions avoidance through post-consumer recycling has been highlighted in the "Zero- Waste City" initiatives in China, which call for increasing household participation in the community recycling programs. A shift from a facility-oriented strategy to behavior-oriented norm building at the community level provides the local niches for emerging business models in post-consumer recycling. This paper proposes a framework based on the Theory of Planned Behavior to simulate the impact on the participation rate of households in community-based recycling program in the context of different recycling business models in Beijing. Firstly, a questionnaire survey was conducted in 2021 in Beijing (N = 1153) to test the key factors which affect household recycling behavior. Secondly, an agent-based model for community-based recycling which was developed in 2016 has been updated to incorporate the institutional change in the development of zero-waste city initiatives. Scenario analysis is adopted to compare the effects of introducing two new business models to the baseline situation that is prevalent at present. The settings for the two new business models represent the diversified directions of the upgrading of urban recycling sector: one is to improve the intelligence of the collection facilities to save labors, and the other is to involve the informal recyclers to provide door-to-door collection services in person so as to save time for the residents. Additional scenario shows the effects of norm-based solutions in combination with the two strategies addressed above in the long run. The simulation results show that the potential for carbon emissions reduction through post-consumer recycling in Beijing can range from 1 million tons per year at the basic scenario to more than 4.5 million tons per year in the community level norm-based solution scenario. In conclusion, the proposal for sustaining the community-based new business models through the capture of value in the carbon emission reduction is put forward as a guideline for urban recycling infrastructure design
Original languageEnglish
Article number106666
JournalResources, Conservation and Recycling
Issue number106666
Publication statusPublished - 24 Sept 2022

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
We thank Prof. Mei Li and Miss.Hancong Ma from School of Earth and Space Sciences in Peking Unviersity for their professional help in computer programming. This research falls under one of the projects of the Erasmus Initiative: Dynamics of Inclusive Prosperity, a joint project funded by the Dutch Research Council ( NWO ) and the National Natural Science Foundation of China ( NSFC ): “Towards Inclusive Circular Economy: Transnational Network for Wise-waste Cities (IWWCs)” (NSFC project number: 72061137071 ; NWO project number: 482.19.608 ). The field work in Beijing received supports from National Key R&D Program of China on Solid Waste Management [grant number 2018YFC1900101 ].

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© 2022


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