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Environment and circular economy transition in China

Municipal Waste

Pursuing for a Low-Carbon Development of MSW

1.5% of the total Chinese CO2 emissions originated from the waste sector, amounting to 111 Mt CO2e per year. By 2025, due to the rapid urbanization, the number of city dwellers in China is expected to reach 1 billion people. Against the backdrop of continuous economic growth, this will lead to the increase in the amount of waste generated, collected and treated, which will subsequently create a substantial annual emission reduction potential from Municipal Solid Waste (MSW) management estimated at the level of 236.3 Mt CO2e. If realized, this amount will cover almost 1/5 of the Chinese Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs) under the Paris Agreement. Besides, carbon emission reduction from waste sector will also contribute to national commitment to achieve carbon neutrality before 2060. China is currently strengthening its efforts to reduce GHG emissions from the waste sector and increase the usage of urban waste for energy production. However, this transformation faces technical and capacity challenges.

Proceeding Towards a Sustainable Municipal Waste Sector

GIZ Waste Management and Circular Economy Team aims to capitalise on the significant Chinese investments in the waste sector by introducing best available techniques (BAT) and best environmental practices (BEP) in integrated waste management in three to five demonstration municipalities. Policy recommendations to the Chinese government will facilitate further dismantling of the existing barriers hindering the sector’s transformation. By making available new income streams (i.e. energy generation and participation in emission trading schemes) as well as a matching private sector interests with the needs of municipalities, up-scaling of the integrated waste management solutions in China will be supported.

Facts & Figures

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CO2e were saved in five Chinese cities between 2019 and 2020 by implementing integrated municipal waste management

News & Articles


In November 2019, as part of a regular monitoring tour, the team of China Integrated Waste Management NAMA Support Project (China IWM NSP) jointly with the experts from Wasteaware conducted its first annual assessment of waste management systems in the demonstration municipalities according to the system of Key Performance Indicators. The results show that in comparison to the baseline study, all cities managed to improve their municipal solid waste management (MSWM) either in terms of infrastructure or with respect to governance.