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Shared Economy Should Also Mean Recycling of Textbooks

Updated: 2020-11-22

An elementary student reads a textbook in Changsha, capital city of Central China's Hunan province on Aug 24, 2020. [Photo/Xinhua]

Recycling of textbooks has become a social issue of great public concern these days. Most text and reference books students follow these days are single-use, leading to a huge waste of resources, thus giving rise to calls for their recycling.

According to the National Press and Publication Administration's statistics, the annual retail sales volume of textbooks and reference books in recent years is about 2.8 billion on average, and the total turnover exceeds 20 billion yuan ($3.03 billion). If all these books could be recycled for a year, the money saved could build 40,000 primary schools.

Textbooks, being made of high quality paper, do not come cheap. But instead of recycling them, devoid of options, many parents and students sell those as waste paper for less than 1 yuan a kilogram, which also harms the environment.

Realizing the problem, the State education authority launched pilot programs to reverse the trend. Way back in 2008, textbooks on some compulsory subjects, such as music, arts, physical education and health, were being re-used in some regions. The State provides these books for free and students pass the books on to the next batch when they are done with them.

More people are recycling used textbooks now, thus creating an ever-increasing market in secondhand textbooks. With the development of online e-commerce platforms, especially the secondhand book e-commerce platform, trade in used textbooks is increasingly becoming popular. According to kongfz.com, a major e-commerce platform for secondhand books, in the past three years the turnover from secondhand textbooks has seen a more than 30 percent annual growth, and this year the platform's turnover exceeded 14 million yuan.

But the number of textbooks being re-used is too small when compared with the number of textbooks used nationwide. In this era of shared economies, authorities and social forces should make efforts to build a recycling system of textbooks for building a green society.

Source: China Daily