China: Turning E-Trash into Cash


App version 1.0 launched in August 2014, version 2.0 launched in August 2015
App version 3.0 has been under development in 2016, with lot of technical improvements
The app is currently available in 22 cities across China
Led to safe disposal of over 5,900 electronic items per month in average (by Mar 2016)
Reached over 253,820 searches per month
‘Baidu Recycle Green Service Alliance’ launched in November 2015
Pageview of the Baidu Recycle App reaches 370,000 by August 2015



As electronic products become ever more available for general consumption, in 2011 alone, China produced over 3.5 million tons of electrical goods waste (“e-waste”). Therefore, the awareness of the need for environment-friendly disposal of toxic elements has been highlighted like never before.

With understanding of the challenge, UNDP China worked with internet company Baidu and developed a mobile application called “Baidu Recycle”, which links end-users to legally certified e-waste disposal companies for safe disposal and recycling.

 (Left to Right) Mr. Robin Li, CEO of Baidu and UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon sign the first e-waste product recycled by Baidu Recycle 2.0

Developed through iterative design and rapid prototyping, the 2.0 version of the app is currently available in 22 cities, and has led to the safe disposal of over 5,900 electronic items in average per month. The app continues to gain popularity with over 253,820 searches every month. 

The app is the first product from the UNDP-Baidu Big Data Joint Laboratory, which serves as an engine to identify valuable data, formulate and implement new methods and frameworks for using big data to support development goals. 


Watch the video below, listen to what UNDP Administrator says about the e-waste issue in China and her comments on the app.


Baidu Recycle in Numbers



Baidu Recycle 1.0


First of its kind in China, Baidu Recycle 1.0 is web-based and can be accessed by searching directly in Baidu Search App. Users can take a photo of their obsolete electronic appliances and then the system automatically identifies the type of the e-waste and estimated price. When users enter contact information, qualified dismantling companies receive a message and arrange for door-to-door pick-up.

In compliance with Ministry of Environmental Protection regulations, the App mainly recycles 8 categories of electronic wastes including TVs, washing machines, refrigerators and digital products.  Piloted in Beijing and Tianjin for less than a year, the Baidu Recycle 1.0 App has successfully recycled and treated more than 4,000 electronic items. 

Learn more about the app from the slides below:


Baidu Recycle 2.0


 Transaction Flow Chart of Baidu Recycle

Since the launch of Baidu Recycle 1.0, UNDP and Baidu have been actively collecting data and feedback to further improve the function and the eco-system behind the App. On 18 August, 2015, Baidu Recycle 2.0 was officially put into practice. 

Leveraging the success of Baidu Recycle 1.0, Baidu Recycle 2.0 aims to make recycling easier and more efficient for customers as well as companies. The web-based app has widened its product coverage to include small-sized items such as cell phones and laptops, scaled up beyond original pilot cities of Beijing and Tianjin to nationwide coverage, and installed user-friendly interfaces for individuals and recycling companies.

The new Baidu Connect lite app will help streamline the recycling process and cut down ‘informal recycling stations’. These stations are usually unaccredited entities that reclaim precious metals from within electronic equipment but then dispose of the toxic materials incorrectly, causing severe ground and water pollution.


Project Development in Photos



What Others Say


 “The joint effort of UNDP and FECO aims to connect the industrial chain and value chain of e-waste treatment and non-ferrous metals recycling. Our goal is to create a virtuous whole-life-cycle of e-products from design, production, consumption, treatment to recycling and reuse.

Mr. Zhao Weijun,

Party Secretary of the Foreign Economic Cooperation Office


"The Baidu Recycle, launched by the UNDP-Baidu Big Data Joint Laboratory, is based on big data technology and may change the model of e-waste recycling industry and effectively push for better social development"

Guojie Li,

Academician, Chinese Academy of Engineering


"This is an innovative way to tackle environemental problems with big data technologies of Baidu, which provides new solutions to the issue of e-waste recycling."

Feng Jia,

Director, Centre of Environmental Education and Communications,

Ministry of Environmental Protection of the People's Republic of China


Source: Beijing News



Page last updated: Aug 19, 2016

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