The circular economy benefits from a regulatory boost over 5 years

Farmers collect rolls of wheat straw for recycling in a rural area of ​​Lianyungang, Jiangsu province. GENG YUHE / FOR CHINA DAILY

The NDRC emphasizes better use of resources, reduction of waste, ecological gestures, recycling

China’s main economic regulator on Wednesday unveiled a new development plan to boost the circular economy over the next five years.

The goal of the plan is to increase the efficiency of resource use and foster high-quality development during the period of the 14th Five-Year Plan (2021-25), said the National Development Commission and reform.

Commenting on the plan, experts said the new plan is of great importance as it will promote the conservation and recycling of resources in China, help ensure the security of domestic resources, and help China honor its commitment to achieve a peak carbon dioxide emissions by 2030 and become carbon neutral by 2060..

The circular economy refers to a model focused on recycling, reusing and repolishing materials and resources. The new plan will make the circular economy a national priority in 2021-25.

By 2025, a resource recycling industry will be established and a society-wide resource recycling system will be completed. By then, the efficiency of resource use will be significantly improved and the rate of replacement of renewable resources with respect to primary resources will be further increased.

In particular, the productivity of large resources, which quantifies the relationships between economic activity and the consumption of large material resources, is expected to increase by around 20% compared to 2020.

Energy consumption per unit of GDP and water consumption per unit of GDP will be reduced by 13.5% and 16%, respectively. The overall utilization rate of harvest straw will remain above 86%, and the overall utilization rate of bulk solid waste and construction waste is expected to reach 60%.

According to the plan, the use of waste paper and scrap will reach 60 million metric tons and 320 million tons, respectively, and the production of recycled non-ferrous metals will reach 20 million tons by 2025. By then , the resource recycling industry will be worth 5,000 billion yuan ($ 773 billion).

The NDRC said in the plan document that it will step up efforts to promote green design of key products, boost clean production in key industries, promote the development of park recycling, improve the waste recycling network, and improve the level of treatment and use of waste. renewable resources.

The plan document states that more efforts will also be made to promote well-regulated growth in the second-hand market, promote the development of high-quality remanufacturing industry, build a waste recycling system , strengthen the recycling of agricultural and forestry waste, strengthen the recycling and use of agricultural material waste and implement a circular agricultural development model.

Xia Guocai, a former NDRC official, said, “After years of rapid economic development, the ecological environment has already been severely damaged and polluted, and ecological disasters such as land desertification, land salinization, soil erosion and destruction of forest resources have seriously threatened the survival and development of human society.

“In this context, we must adopt the method of developing a circular economy to move from the previous cycle of ‘resource-product-waste’ to a new model of ‘resource-product-waste-renewable resources’.”

In an article posted on the NDRC website, Xia said that while China has made tremendous strides in boosting economic and social development in recent decades, issues such as resource scarcity and pollution of environment have also emerged under the traditional development model of mass production, mass consumption and mass waste.

Yin Zhongshu, analyst at Everbright Securities, said the development of the circular economy will help China reduce its carbon emissions and strengthen the new dual circulation development model which takes the domestic market as a pillar while the domestic markets and foreigners complement each other.

“The development of the circular economy will help reduce the high-energy processing of raw materials, improve the efficiency of the domestic cycle, strengthen China’s position on the stage of the international industrial chain, and make China less dependent on scarce foreign raw materials, ”Yin said. in a recent Everbright report.

Looking ahead, Yin said the government needs to take more steps to boost the development of the circular economy, including clarifying the responsibility of producers for the treatment and disposal of post-consumer products.

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