A recent blog post from Chinese urban development blog Ecocity Notes provides an insight into how circular economy practices are being implemented on the ground in China.
China have incorporated the circular economy into governmental plans for some years now, but this case study suggests that cities are the main priority, with some key focus areas in industrial systems, the built environment, urban infrastructure, and ecological concerns.
The Chinese circular economy strategy is deployed at three levels: the enterprise-wide promotion of clean production; in industrial zones to implement industrial ecology; and at the region level to develop eco-cities. According to Jean Claude Levy, Special Advisor to the Commissioner for external action of local communities in France, this strategy was tested in seven industrial sectors and implemented in 13 industrial parks, and since 2005, in 10 eco-cities and eco-provinces (Beijing, Shanghai, Chongqing, Guiyang, Ningbo, Hebei, Tongling, Liaoning, Shandong, and Jiangsu) under the leadership of the National Development and Reform Commission.
The construction of an eco-city essentially comprises the three following key aspects of the circular economy:
- The industrial system of the circular economy (ecological industry, ecological agriculture and service sector)
- The construction of urban infrastructure, which highlights the circular use of water, energy and solid waste
- The ecological security that implies the presence of non-polluting buildings, and the high quality of the habitat and the protection of the environment
The post includes a case study in the Eco-City of Guiyang, in which industrial systems have been optimised to achieve a more effective use of materials and energy. Guiyang is one of the most densely populated cities in the country, with with a population of 3.25 million and an area of 8046 km2. A pilot project of the city’s industrial park consists of four priority areas: phosphorous chemical industry, coal chemical industry, chloro-alkali, power stations, and system recovery of by-products.
Update: China Daily report on a similar project, the Jilin Chemical Engineering Circular Economy Park.