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China to Pilot “Zero-Waste” Program in Cities: Chemical Industry to Face Considerable Challenges

  •   24 Jan 2019
  •    lynn liang
  •    1301
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    On Jan 21st, 2019, China State Council issued a notice on the “Zero-waste” pilot city construction programs. The program details radical new measures designed to minimize solid waste and maximize recycling. Around 10 cities will be earmarked to test out the program, based on the recommendations of their respective provincial authorities and subsequent approval by MEE and other national authorities. The local governments of pilot cities shall be in charge of zero-waste implementation schemes before the first half of 2019.

    China has considerable progress in its environmental protection efforts in recent years. In 2017 and 2018, China updated/published pollution control laws on air, water, soil and noise, and sets a multilateral import embargo on solid waste.


    Update/Publish Date

    Implementation Data

    Water Pollution Prevention Law

    Jun 27, 2017

    Jun 27, 2017

    Air Pollution Prevention Law

    Oct 26, 2018

    Oct 26, 2018

    Soil Pollution Prevention Law (CL News)

    Aug 31, 2018

    Jan 1, 2019

    Noise Pollution Prevention Law

    Dec 29, 2018

    Dec 29, 2018

    Table 1. Timeline of China pollution prevention laws

    Despite, China’s great efforts to address its environmental issues, the illegal transfer and dumping of waste are still a regular occurrence (ChemLinked News) and have been a major impetus for the development of the “zero-waste” program.

    The program will focus on reducing waste, promoting recycling and safe disposal of: bulk industrial solid waste, major agricultural wastes, household wastes, construction wastes and hazardous wastes. The chemical industry will be impacted in the following ways:

    • By 2020, large and medium mines in pilot cities shall meet the green construction requirements including: reduce the solid waste volume of production, improved storage and disposal, and find a solution to use all solid wastes generated.
    • By 2020, key industries, for instance, battery, electronic and electric products, vehicles, shall implement the extended manufacturer responsibility system and complete the scrap products reverse recovery system.
    • Restrict the circulation of disposable non-degradable plastic products.
    • Explore the addition of solid wastes to the management scope of pollutants emission license
    • Complete hazardous wastes related standards, and stipulate the toxic and hazardous substance limits in products from recycled resources.
    • Formulate the products list for industrial solid wastes utilization, and issue environmental protection tax exemptions for those products
    • By 2020, hazardous wastes operation entities in pilot cities will be required to have environmental pollution liability insurance. (Shandong province will implement the insurance from Mar 1, 2019)

    Another notable thing for Chinese citizens is that China will also implement a household waste charging systems in pilot cities. With China’s explicit intention to develop a green and sustainable society by emphasizing the management on both industrial and household wastes, industries will on one hand face the possibility of shouldering even heavier regulatory compliance duties but on the other hand have the opportunity to be rewarded in the form of subsidies and tax exemptions.  Implementation details will be individualize to meet the unique demands in different pilot cities.


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