On 14 November 2022, the online workshop on circular economy law and the closing event for the study “The Current Status and Prospects of Circular Economy Law in Germany and the EU” was held. The event was organised by the Sino-German Legal Cooperation Programme of the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH commissioned by the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) in cooperation with the Tsinghua Research Institute for Environmental Innovation (Suzhou). The Tsinghua Institute was commissioned by the Chinese government to draft a bill to reform China’s circular economy law. The two authors of the study, Professor Dr. Walter Frenz, Professor at RWTH Aachen University, and Professor Dr. Martin Beckmann, a specialized lawyer in administrative law, also took part in the event.
Dr Haase, Programme Director of the Legal Programme, and Mr Yao, Deputy Dean of the Tsinghua Research Institute for Environmental Innovation (Suzhou), provided the respective welcoming remarks. Mr. Yao thanked the two experts for the detailed study and noted that it is very helpful for the legislative project in China’s circular economy law. Mr. Yao and Dr. Haase both emphasised the importance of a functioning circular economy for climate protection.
In the following, Professor Dr. Frenz and Professor Dr. Beckmann presented a summary of the study and noted some key aspects. Specifically, they talked about the circular economy as an instrument against climate change, serving as an important part of the energy transition, how waste from renewable energy is disposed of and how extended producer responsibility through product design should reduce waste in online trade, among other things. Furthermore, political trends such as improving the longevity of products, which is also a guiding principle of the COP 27 in Sharm el-Sheikh, the EU Green Deal and reforms in German law were discussed.
In the question and answer session, the Chinese participants were able to ask questions about the study. The experts answered questions on emissions from waste incineration, targets and recycling targets for raw materials such as glass, building materials or batteries, energy recovery from waste incineration, the polluter pays principle and the connection with the producer principle and consumer engagement, the digital passport of waste that makes more efficient recycling possible, the end of waste status and producer responsibility for photovoltaic systems.
Mr. Yao concluded by emphasising the importance of the study, which can serve to improve recycling and energy generation in the Chinese circular economy. A key concern is the decoupling of resources and the economy, which is why the study on circular economy particularly important.