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China: Recycling Economy Promotion Law to Take Effect

(Nov. 25, 2008) The Recycling Economy Promotion Law (also translated as the “Circular Economy Promotion Law”) was recently passed by the Standing Committee of the 11th National People's Congress (NPC) and will take effect on January 1, 2009. The “recycling economy” refers to reducing, reusing, and recycling activities in the process of production, circulation, and consumption, as defined under article 2 of the Law. (Text in Chinese, XINHUANET, Aug. 29, 2008, available at The Law joins a series of laws and regulations adopted or amended in the past several years that are designed to promote an energy-efficient and sustainable economy, such as:

– the Renewable Energy Law (promulgated by the NPC Standing Committee on Feb. 28, 2005, effective Jan. 1, 2006);

– Administrative Measures on the Recovery of Renewable Resources (jointly published by six government departments on Mar. 27, 2006, effective May 1, 2007);

– the Energy Conservation Law (promulgated by the NPC Standing Committee on Nov. 11, 1997, amended on Oct. 28, 2007, effective Apr. 1, 2008);

– the Draft Regulations on Recycling Electronic Waste recently passed by the State Council (see GLM, Sept. 5, 2008, available at;

– the Energy Conservation Regulations for Residential Buildings (passed by the State Council on July 23, 2008, effective Oct. 1, 2008); and

– the Energy Conservation Regulations for State-Funded Institutions (passed by the State Council on Aug. 1, 2008, effective Oct. 1, 2008).

China has also been deliberating about a comprehensive Energy Law since 2006. The government published a draft of the Energy Law to solicit public opinions in late 2007 (see China's New Energy Law to Focus on Emissions Reduction, CHINAMINING.ORG, Dec. 7, 2007, available at

Under the Recycling Economy Promotion Law, the government will closely oversee high-consumption and high-emission industries, including steel and non-ferrous metal production, coal electric power, petroleum processing, chemical, building materials, construction, paper-making, and printing and dye industries (art. 16). Enterprises in the electric power, petroleum processing, chemical, steel, non-ferrous metal, and building materials industries must use clean energy, such as clean coal, to replace fuel oil within the scope and time limits stipulated by the state (art. 21). Enterprises that produce products or packages that are listed in the mandatory recycling catalogue must recycle discarded products or packages (art. 15). (See also China Adopts Law to Promote Circular Economy, China Daily, Aug. 30, 2008, available at