Already a huge importer of recyclable materials, China is set to implement a new raft of policies to make environmental enterprises commercially attractive.

Finance minister Li Jinghiu has promised funding to back the policies which Beijing says will help the country cope with rapid economic growth without being dragged into a ‘boom and bust’ cycle.

Mr Li said the Ministry of Finance’s Economic Building Department was also considering extra funding for research and development of renewable energy.

China’s industrialisation over the past two decades has led to high levels of pollution and consumption of natural resources.

The government claims the new policy package will address these problems, with tax reforms favourable to ‘green’ business, increased prices on natural resources to stimulate recycling, industrialisation of waste management and a gradual increase in spending on clean production.

The policies also look likely to provide a boost to the waste export industry in
Europe, which already sends massive shipments of recyclables to China as there is little or no market for them in the EU.

While the practice provides a short-term solution to Europe’s waste woes, it has its critics who point to the waste of energy transporting the materials and the avoidance of responsibility of states which should manage their own rubbish.

By Sam Bond

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