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China sets out recycling goal of 70%

A drive to recycle 70% of major waste products within four years has been announced by the Chinese government.

A document published on the government’s official website in the wake of the country’s 12th five-year plan, which was released in March, says a “complete and advanced” system will be put in place.

According to the official Xinhua News Agency, the system would feature a complete waste collection network, advanced technologies, sorting and standard management.

“Major waste products” are said to include metal, paper, plastic, glass, tyres, cars and electronic devices.

The document adds: “It’s extremely urgent to establish such a system; the absence of which not only prevents the recycling of resources but also poses an imminent threat to the environment.”

Small and medium-sized enterprises, as well as individual workers, would carry out the collection work, with favourable policies in terms of financing and land use.

Producers and sellers would be told to consider recycling during the design and manufacture of their products.

David Sher, policy adviser to the UK’s Environmental Services Association, said: “It’s great to see these environmental ambitions accelerating in China. There are a huge number of positives for the UK waste and resources industry - recyclates will get increasingly entrenched in manufacturing supply chains across the world, and there is a stark opportunity for the export of not just materials, but technology and intellectual property too.”

In the 12th Five-year-plan (2011-2015), China pledged to build an economy based on sustainable development and promised to promote energy and resources conservation as well as reducing emissions.

According to the Chinese ministry of commerce the country recycled 140 million tonnes of waste in 2009.

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