Can legislation promote a circular economy? A material flow-based evaluation of the circular degree of the Chinese economy

Yuan Hu, Xuan He, Mark Poustie

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

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Abstract

The circular economy has been widely developed in China and other countries. However, China has been the most proactive country in upgrading its economic model by enacting a Circular Economy Promotion Law (CEPL). Nearly 10 years have passed since the adoption of the CEPL, and it is thus essential to evaluate the progress of circular economy development to see if the targets have been achieved. Although it is extremely difficult to evaluate the role of the CEPL in the development of a circular economy in China, we think that if we can estimate the circular degree of the Chinese economy and identify the changes of some key indicators before and after the adoption of the CEPL, it will be helpful in judging whether the CEPL has played a key role in promoting the transition of the economic development model. Since the existing circular economy indicators and evaluation systems have focused mainly on the recycling of resources, we designed a methodology based on the material flow that can be used to evaluate the circular degree of the whole national economy. Through a detailed observation of the circular economy indicators of China, we conclude that the CEPL has not yet played a significant role in promoting the circular economy as was previously believed.

Original languageEnglish
Article number990
Number of pages22
JournalSustainability (Switzerland)
Volume10
Issue number4
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 27 Mar 2018

Keywords

  • Chinese economy
  • circular degree
  • circular economy promotion law of PRC (CEPL)
  • evaluation
  • legislation
  • material flow

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