Event Wrapup: Waste & Circular Economies in China

For 30 years, the West has believed that by separating our waste into colored bins they were creating circular economies that would allow us to live a life of fast consumption without worrying about the planetary impact.

That as “recyclers”, we were doing our part.

However, that fantasy began to unravel last year as a combination of China’s waste ban mixed with images of ocean plastics, brought the realities front and center.

In China however, a sober understanding of the challenges was recognized long ago, however unlike its Western peers, China has begun to move quickly to create regulations, engage citizens, and invest in processes and innovations that will take this fight to the next level.

Through this event, our speakers introduced their work to capture resources before they are waste and put them back to use.


Shutong Liu
Shutong graduated from VU University Amsterdam, has a master degree of Environment & Energy Management Studies. Before come back to China in 2015, He lived in the Netherlands for 9 years. Shutong has great passion in Environmental and renewable energy. He used to work in the CSR department of the logistics company TNT, responsible for the global Electric Vehicle project, he also worked in solar energy projects. After his master study, he joined SkyNRG- the world first Bio jet fuel provider, supplied KLM with bio jet fuel made from “used cooking oil”. As the Asian business development manager, he used to ship a large volume of the Used cooking oil from Asia to EU to produce Biofuel. When he found out the problem of used cooking oil in China, he decided to move back to China to solve this problem. In 2015, Shutong founded MotionECO, a company focus on providing sustainable transportation. Working on promoting low carbon fuels in China, including projects that convert the local used cooking oil into biofuel to be used in local buses and logistic fleets, which help to solve the food safety and environmental problems. Shutong is a fellow of Harvard SEED for social innovation. He has received: 2018 UNEP Low-Carbon Lifestyles Challenge, 2017 Forbes China 30 under 30, 2017 CSA Climate Strategic Accelerator finalist, 2016 Winner of The Venture global social Entrepreneurship competition China area, 2016 SEE foundation Green Entrepreneur & 2016 Aiyou foundation social entrepreneur partner.

UB Qiu
UB Qiu is the Sustainability Lead for North Asia at Interface, a global modular flooring company and a leader in sustainability. She leads internal and external engagement around the company’s sustainability strategy, drives localization of Interface’s global initiatives in North Asia’s context, and supports the mission to create a climate fit for life at all levels, from manufacturing to operations to management, for all stakeholders, from employees to customers to suppliers.

Prior to joining Interface, UB was a Sustainability Consultant with E&Y’s Climate Change and Sustainability Services team helping improve companies’ environmental and social performance. Prior to EY, UB interned at the World Resources Institute, a global leading environmental think tank in Washington D.C., working on driving consumers’ eating habit to shift towards a plant-based diet to reduce the environmental impact from meat consumption. UB holds a B.S. in Environmental Policy and Psychology from the College of William and Mary in Virginia.

Neville Mars
Neville Mars is the principal of MARS Architects Shanghai and director of the urban research platform Dynamic City Foundation. MARS is an award winning firm focussed on sustainable public buildings and ecocities across Asia, including the Sino-Dutch Ecocity in Shenzhen, Beijing 798, Caofeidian Ecocity, and United Mumbai for the BMW_Guggenheim. MARS has been invited by UN HABITAT to produce the masterplan for Tacloban, the city ravaged by super typhoon Haiyan. Mars is the author of the book The Chinese Dream – a society under construction (010 Publishers, 2008) and the forthcoming book on planning ecocities Manifesto of Mistakes — How China inspires a radical new urbanism.

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