Monday, April 02, 2007

Circular Reasoning on China's Circular Economy

China is drafting its first law on creating a “circular economy” that provides a legal framework for its national sustainable development strategy. Mao Rubai, chairman of the Environmental and Resources Protection Committee of the National People's Congress (NPC), said the draft law will improve resource efficiency, and is expected to pass at the end of the year.

The handling of eWaste is included in the framework, of which China
takes about 70 percent of the world's 'supply'.There's quite a few doubts that this policy will have any effect; one anon in the piece claims that "Many articles in the draft are very hard to put into practice in China", and that there is no "clear and tough punishment for those who violate the rules of the circular economy.” It's hard to disagree, but it's also the best course that can be steered.

Consider this - China accepted massive amounts of eWaste for years, mostly in an unregulated framework, and probably in an effort to garnish raw materials and provide jobs for the 10 million Chinese who process this stuff. With the Green Hammer coming down, they realize it's time to change, but even China can't stop a rocket on a dime. It's clear that there's going to be a transition period here, with big smiles and gladhanding as a raft of toothless laws and benign directives get put into place. It's just paying dues.

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