From "Waste-Free City" to "Waste-Free Society"— Expert Opinion from Academician Du Xiangwan, China
The circular economy is usually associated with the utilization of solid waste. The level of waste reduction and resource utilization in a region is an indicator of the region's progress toward ecological civilization.
The European Commission, for example, proposed "Towards a Circular Economy: European Zero Waste Plan" in 2014, while Singapore proposed a national vision of "zero waste." Japan presented a "circular society." Most developed countries and regions that implement the "zero waste" strategy strive to address natural resource scarcity, the occupation of scarce land resources by waste landfills, and environmental pollution. And take "zero waste" as their target vision and effort direction to encourage the adoption of the circular economy idea in the economic system and its extension to other facets of society.
The "Waste-free city" is a cutting-edge urban management concept guided by the new development concept of innovation, coordination, sustainability, openness, and sharing. It continuously promotes the source reduction and resource utilization of solid waste, minimizes landfill volume, and minimizes the environmental impact of solid waste by promoting the formation of green development modes and lifestyles.
Building a "waste-free society" in China will bring obvious environmental, economic, and social benefits in the long run. The “waste-free society" is an important symbol of modernization and an inherent requirement of ecological civilization construction.
The transition from a "waste-free city" pilot to a "waste-free society" is a long-term process. This process of promotion and practice involves profound social progress from a "waste-free city" pilot to a "waste-free society." At the same time, solid waste resource utilization is a common topic of sustainable development worldwide. It is necessary to strengthen international exchanges and cooperation and learn from each other when China's "waste-free city" pilot project moves towards a "waste-free society."