As Shanghai starts mandatory garbage sorting on Monday, games and toys that explore fun ways to spread garbage sorting knowhow are gaining popularity among young people.
A 15-second video of a VR game went viral on Chinese social media in the past few days. In the video, players wearing VR equipment could see four different types of trash cans in front of them, and they threw different types of garbage appearing in front of them into the corresponding buckets to score.
This garbage sorting VR game debuted at the Mobile World Congress Shanghai last week. Although this is not the only VR game in the venue, visitors lined up around the booth to explore the game because of its garbage sorting theme.
"As a Shanghai resident, I am in great need of this game. Maybe I won't need to check how to categorize each garbage on my phone while going through all my garbage every day if I play this game more often," said Zhou Zhou, a young Shanghai resident. Although the game has not launched officially, Zhou said she was very much looking forward to it.
Some social media users have recently complained about the difficulties in sorting different types of garbage in Shanghai.
Wu Xia, founder and CEO of VitrellaCore, the company that created the game, said the purpose of this VR game is to provide an interesting method for learning garbage sorting.
"It's simple and easy to understand. Residents can practice garbage sorting knowledge without actually going through the rubbish, and it is also a more effective method than paper materials when training garbage sorting volunteers," Wu Said.
GARBAGE SORTING NO CHILD'S PLAY
Shanghai is widely promoting a mandatory garbage sorting system, which requires residents to throw away garbage at a fixed time and place. There is a designated garbage disposal site for every 300-500 households, where volunteers carefully check whether household waste is accurately classified.
The city enacted a set of regulations on household garbage sorting and recycling from Monday, which requires residents to sort household garbage into four kinds: dry refuse, wet trash, recyclable waste and hazardous waste. Individuals who fail to sort garbage may be fined up to 200 yuan (about 29 U.S. dollars).
Wu said many streets and neighborhoods in Shanghai have expressed their willingness to cooperate, and the company hopes to launch VR games in more places for residents to experience for free.
"GARBAGE SORTING IS FUN"
On Taobao, an e-commerce platform under Alibaba, the sales volume of a garbage sorting toy increased by nearly 300 pieces on Sunday. This set of toys consists of four miniature sorting bins, with cards representing various types of garbage.
Most of the buyers of this toy are from Shanghai, and the toy is almost out of stock due to strong sales, according to the shop's customer service representative.
One residential community called Jiayou in Shanghai's Jiading District ordered several toys for its residents. "We hope to raise children's interest in garbage sorting," said Xing Minxia, secretary of the Jiayou Community branch of the Communist Party of China.
"Most garbage sorting volunteers are retired people, while young people are less involved. These innovative ways can win young people's hearts and make them feel that garbage sorting is fun instead of a burden," said Mao Qing, director of a community cultural activity center in Changning District.
Residents of this community have recently been keen on a mobile game called "Race Against Time." In 45 seconds, players are required to move a trash bin of a specific category to accurately catch the garbage belonging to this category. Players who pass the game can participate in a lucky draw.
Fan Weicheng, deputy director of Shanghai Oriental Publicity and Education Service Center that developed the game, said about 21,000 people have played it since they launched the game in early June.
"We often see the elderly gathering around the garbage sorting knowledge boards in residential communities, but young people are hardly ever there," Fan said. "We hope to involve more young people through mobile games."
The garbage sorting VR game will be launched on the Steam platform and China's Tencent WeGame platform in August this year, according to Wu.
"There will be more types of garbage and more gameplay at that time, but the core of the game will always be to teach people about garbage sorting in a fun way," Wu said.