Author: sEaNERGIA Baltic Cluster

The Chinese government was a first adopter of circular economy in Asia – China’s Circular Economy Promotion Law came into force in January 2009. It was an answer to China’s

urgent problems of environmental degradation and resource scarcity and was formulated for the purpose of resource recovery and resource efficiency. Within the Law there are national plans for safe municipal solid waste treatment, energy savings and emissions reductions. The Chinese government is now investing in, and providing support for, activities including the Chinese Association for the Circular Economy (CACE).[1] This is a steering group (government, academic and business leaders) mandated to promote best practice in recycling, cradle-to-cradle development cycles, and reclamation of waste materials from across China’s industrial and retail sectors.[2] A report by the Fung Global Institute and the Ellen MacArthur Foundation, published in 2014, notes that China has the potential to lead the adoption of circular economies in Asia, and possibly globally:[3]

“China has the economies of scale and diversity in production processes to make remanufacturing and materials reuse economically viable, particularly for small and medium sized manufacturers, notes the report. Though China enacted its first Circular Economy Promotion Law in 2009, much more policy leadership will be essential to bring the circular economy to fruition in the country. This should include removing regulatory rigidities around waste in order to encourage competition and facilitate the flow of materials, defining circularity beyond a narrow concept of recycling.”

To find out more check the Strategy & Policy Research documents on Circular Economy in China:


[2] The circular economy in the built environment, Arup, p.60

[3] Towards a Circular Economy in Asia ISSUES AND OPPORTUNITIES, The Ellen MacArthur Foundation and Fung Global Institute, p.16

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