China counters “‘Ending Better than Mending’ idea”

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I believe in miracles. I witnessed economy miracle in 2011: China surpassed Japan and became second to the United States with prospectof being second to none.  In the future I would like to witness an environmental miracle: China,  the largest contaminator and generator of waste, showing the world the route to sustainable development. Thanks to Dr Zhu Dajian, my hope has emerged.

The population of China has reached 1,3 billion, 22% of the world’s total. The population is affluent and likely to copy a newly attainable Western lifestyle. It seems that a slogan from Huxley’s novel- Ending is better than mending– has replaced old Chinese tradition of saving and being thrifty. Due to blind devotion in high consumption and the pursuit of fast economic development to Chinese “Brave New World” heavily polluting industries aggravated the severe environmental problems: air and water pollution and excessive mining of mineral resources.  Further development can no longer be based on the Western way of consumption. The country needs to create an alternative model that will meet the need for growth while maintaining or even improving the condition of the environment.

Luckily, the awareness of ecological problems is growing among Chinese citizens. The country is changing from the factory of the world to the clean-tech laboratory of the world. In this laboratory, the Chinese model of circular economy was developed – an idea that is supposed to embrace high technologies, pursue high-economic efficiency and low-resources consumption. According to Dr Zhu Dajian, the number three is key to understand the model.

Linear vs Circular Economy. Source: University of Bradford


Circular Economy is based on 3R principle: Reducing the use of natural resources, Reusing goods and Recycling waste. The model should be developed in three stages. First stage is transforming throwaway into recycling. The second one is transition of downcycling into upcycling, Third, final stage should transform traditional linear “resource-product-waste” material flow pattern into that of “resource-product-renewed resource”. Implementing the model of Circular Economy shall bring three positive consequences: economic growth, social development and lower environmental impact.

The first step to get rid of the “Ending better than mending” idea was made: The Sixteenth Party Congress recommended establishing the model of Circular Economy. My hope for establishing a resource efficient future in China emerges.  I think the environmental miracle is possible, but all in all, two more steps have to made.

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