Opinions on Accelerating the Establishment of a Waste Recycling System


The General Office of the State Council issued the Opinions on Accelerating the Establishment of a Waste Recycling System 关于加快构建废弃物循环利用体系的意见 on February 6th, which emphasize the importance of resource recycling and reuse. The policy sets detailed targets, including: (1) By 2025, preliminarily establish a waste recycling system; the annual utilization of bulk solid waste[1] should reach 4 billion tons[2], and the comprehensive utilization of new bulk solid waste should reach 60%; the annual utilization of major recyclable resources[3] should reach 450 million tons[4]; the annual output value of the resource recycling industry should reach 5 trillion CNY[5]. (2) By 2030, establish a comprehensive, efficient, and standardized waste recycling system, fully explore the values of all types of waste resources, further increase the proportion of recycled materials in the raw material supply, significantly improve the scale and quality of the resource recycling industry, and the overall level of waste recycling will rank among the top worldwide[6].

In 2022, the NDRC and other 5 ministries issued Guiding Opinions on Accelerating the Establishment of a Waste Materials Recycling System 《关于加快废旧物资循环利用体系建设的指导意见》[7]. Compared to this policy, the new Opinions were issued by the General Office of the SC, underscoring a higher significance placed on waste recycling. Notably, more quantitative targets are proposed this time, which provide clear indicators of policy implementation effectiveness. The new Opinions also incorporate both short- and medium-term goals by introducing targets for 2030. However, unlike the 2022 policy, the new policy does not specify the responsible ministry for each measure, raising concerns about potential overlaps or conflicts between different ministries’ works.

Regarding the key tasks outlined in these two policies, first, the new Opinions expand the scope of waste categories to encompass agricultural waste and bulk solid waste as well. This expansion is in response to the increase in regulations on the management of these two waste categories[8]. For example, the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Affairs, collaborating with other ministries, issued two policies related to the recycling and utilization of agricultural films and crop straws in 2023. Furthermore, enhancing the comprehensive utilization rate of industrial bulk solid waste was targeted in the Guidance on Accelerating the Transformation and Upgrading of Traditional Manufacturing Industries.

Second, this new policy proposes additional pathways for resource utilization. In addition to second-hand trading, remanufacturing, and recycling approaches already proposed in the 2022 Guiding Opinions, the utilization of energy from waste is included. The policy suggests generating energy from food waste and deriving biomass from organic materials such as agricultural and forestry wastes.

Third, the idea of ‘Extended Producer Responsibility’ is introduced to the new Opinions, with suggestions to encourage power battery enterprises to set recycling targets and assign industrial waste management responsibilities to waste producers.

Fourth, the Opinions propose to integrate other countries’ relevant regulations and standards. For instance, standards for the eco-design of power batteries and carbon footprint accounting will be formulated, which are expected to align with the requirements outlined in the EU’s Carbon Border Adjustment Mechanism and Extended Producer Responsibility[10].


[1] Bulk solid waste refers to the solid waste of a single type with an annual production exceeding 100 million tons. Including coal gangue, fly ash, tailings, industrial by-product gypsum, slag, construction waste, and agricultural crop straw.

[2] The annual utilization of bulk solid waste was 3.8 billion tons in 2021.

[3] Major recycled resources including scrap steel, scrap copper, scrap aluminum, scrap lead, scrap zinc, scrap paper, scrap plastic, scrap rubber, and scrap glass.

[4] The annual utilization of major recycled resources was 385 million tons in 2021.

[5] The annual output value of the resource recycling industry was 3 trillion CNY in 2021.

[6] The General Office of the SC. (2024, February 9). 国务院办公厅关于加快构建废弃物循环利用体系的意见。[The General Office of the SC issued the Opinions on Accelerating the Establishment of a Waste Recycling System.]

[7] NDRC. (2022, January 17). 国家发展改革委等部门关于加快废旧物资循环利用体系建设的指导意见。[The NDRC and other ministries issued Guiding Opinions on Accelerating the Establishment of a Waste Materials Recycling System.]

[8] China Association of Circular Economy. (2024, February 28). 政策解读|加快构建废弃物循环利用体系,为高质量发展厚植绿色低碳根基。[Policy interpretation: Accelerating the establishment of a waste recycling system, laying the green and low-carbon foundation for high-quality development.]

[10] Institution of Carbon Neutrality and Circular Economy. (2024, February 11). 蒋南青院长解读《关于加快构建废弃物循环利用体系的意见》5万亿年产值产业呼之欲出。[Director Jiang Nanqing interpreted the Opinions on Accelerating the Establishment of a Waste Recycling System, pointing out that a 5 trillion CNY industry is emerging.]