T. Kurniawan, Xue Liang, E. O’Callaghan
Feb 18, 2022
In China, environmental pollution due to municipal solid waste (MSW) over-generation is one of the country’s priority concerns. The increasing volume and complexity of the waste poses serious risks to the environment and public health. Currently, the annual growth of MSW generation is estimated to be approximately 8–10% and will increase to 323 million metric tons (Mt) by 2030. Based on the secondary data collected from a literature survey, this article critically evaluates the recent progress of MSW management (MSWM) in China and offers new insights into the waste sector in the era of Industry 4.0. This helps decision makers in China to plan a smooth transition nationwide to a circular economy (CE) in the waste sector. It is evident that digitalization is a driving force for China to move towards low-carbon development strategies within the framework of CE. Through digitalization, the waste sector has promoted prevention, reduction, reuse, and recycling (3Rs) of waste before waste disposal in landfills. A proper implementation of digitalization-based waste recycling has contributed to an efficient cooperation between the government and private sector, increased job opportunities, and promoted the conservation of resources. It is anticipated that this work not only contributes to the establishment of an integrated MSWM system in China, but also improves local MSWM through digitalization in the framework of a CE.