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Environment and circular economy transition in China

Waste Management and marine litter

Waste Management

There are different types of waste, such as household, biological, commercial and industrial waste. Waste management is all the activities and actions required to manage waste from its generation to its final disposal. This includes amongst other things, collection, transport, treatment and disposal of waste together with monitoring and regulation. It also encompasses the legal and regulatory framework that relates to waste management encompassing guidance on recycling etc. The aim of waste management is to reduce the potentially dangerous effects of waste on the environment and human health, and also leading to the higher hierarchy to waste prevention, reduction and recycling.

Reducing Marine Litter

Driven by rapid urbanization, economic development and changing consumption and production patterns, the amount of single-use packaging is rapidly increasing worldwide. At the same time, globally waste management systems still lack effectiveness. As a result, annually 75-199 million tons of plastic find their way into the oceans, based on estimates by UNEP. About 60 to 90% of marine litter consists of plastics, of which much comes from single-use plastic products and packaging. Microplastics are of particular concern due to their potential toxicity and size, entering food chains and drinking water, harming animals and representing a potential threat to human health. Actions need to be empowered to reduce the marine litter!

Transition towards a Circular Economy

Governments, businesses, academia and civil society increasingly recognize that a switch towards a circular economy approach to plastic waste is necessary to tackle these challenges. The transformation from a linear to a circular economy requires a much stronger commitment to sustainable management of waste and resources. The goal of circular economy is (1) to increase the life cycle of different types of materials and waste and (2) to facilitate their reuse by treating them as manageable resources. Circular economy is not limited to waste management only but starts with development and production of the product, its consumption or its use as a secondary material. In this field the concept of the 3R (Reduce, Reuse, Recycle) plays an important role.

Facts & Figures

of municipal solid waste were collected in 2020 and 99.74% were environmental soundly treated in China.
75- 0
of plastic waste are estimated in the ocean (UNEP). Without interventions, the annual global plastic emissions will nearly triple by 2040.

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