Renewable Matter # 2 / Numero #2

Why China is Embracing the Circular Economy

by Johnson Yeh

The Chinese economy has grown rapidly and created tremendous wealth. Nominal GDP has grown 7.5 times between 2000 and 2013. Total household income has about doubled between 2005 and 2012 alone and stands to more than triple between 2012 and 2030. By 2030, the upper middle class will make up more than half of urban households. However, this rapid growth puts a tremendous strain on resources. China’s growth demands a strong supply of raw materials, water, energy, and food, among others.

One potential remedy to resource supply constraints and consequently high resource prices and volatility could be for China to further engage with the concepts and approaches of the circular economy.

Engaging in circular economy practices helps decouple growth and resource needs. For example, refurbishing products, feeding...

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