Growing the Circular Economy: Opportunities for Resource Recycling under China’s Carbon-Neutrality Target

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Originally published on RMI.org.
By Ji Chen, Shuyi Li,Yanjun Wu

For the first time, RMI has examined the vast potential for resource recycling in China and shown how it can serve as an important component of reaching the nation’s zero-carbon goal. Growing the Circular Economy: Opportunities for Resource Recycling under China’s Carbon-Neutrality Target [PDF] quantifies the market opportunity across nine key segments, from scrap steel and plastics to biomass and EV batteries, finding a ¥2.8 trillion potential market in 2050.

The report provides a qualitative analysis of each of these segments, looking at the current state of the market and addressing issues such as resource availability, existing policy supports, and the potential for greenhouse gas mitigation. It also explores how the development of resource recycling industries can help to shift business ecosystems towards a circular economy with greater efficiency, lower emissions, and reduced waste.

Growing the Circular Economy can serve as a starting point for investors, entrepreneurs, and policymakers to explore the immense possibilities of the resource recycling in China. The report provides essential information to help form both a quantitative and qualitative basis for thinking about both business and political approaches to this market.


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Since 1982, RMI (previously Rocky Mountain Institute) has advanced market-based solutions that transform global energy use to create a clean, prosperous and secure future. An independent, nonprofit think-and-do tank, RMI engages with businesses, communities and institutions to accelerate and scale replicable solutions that drive the cost-effective shift from fossil fuels to efficiency and renewables. Please visit http://www.rmi.org for more information.

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