Design for Environment in China

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Last Updated: October 6, 2004
Report Contents
-   Summary
-   Additional Marking Requirements
-   Operational Details
-   Laws & Regulations
-   Contacts


China has developed a number of laws addressing design-for-environment (“DfE”) issues that affect electronic products. China’s environmental law drafters have gradually shifted their focus from “end-of-pipe” controls to the environmental management of production processes and products. Early notable examples of this trend are China’s laws related to the reduction of mercury content in batteries, described in detail in the Batteries section of the China Country Page.

When considering DfE requirements and legal influences in China, subscribers should also refer to the Restriction of Substances section discussions concerning China’s catalogues of chemicals banned or targeted for phase out.

On the voluntary initiative area, China has developed an environmental labeling (ecolabel) program under the Provisional Management Methods for Certification of Products with Environmental Labels. The Methods describe the application requirements and substantive criteria under the labeling program for covered products, which currently include a number of electronic products.

Defined Restrictions:
Clean Production Promotion Law

The Clean Production Promotion Law is a national statute enacted by the National People’s Congress June 29, 2002 and entered into force January 1, 2003. The Law covers all types of consumer and industrial products, including electronic products.

Among other things, under the Law, enterprises are required to take the following measures to carry out “technological improvements” for clean production:

  1. Use advanced energy-efficient and pollution-preventive technologies and equipment in place of energy and pollution-intensive technologies and equipment

  2. Employ non-toxic and non-hazardous or less-toxic and less-hazardous raw materials in place of toxic and hazardous raw materials

  3. Produce non-polluting or less-polluting and easily recycled products

  4. Reuse surplus heat, pressure, and all kinds of combustible gases

  5. Take measures to improve water use efficiency

  6. Adopt advanced technologies to recycle wastes and prevent secondary pollution during the recycling process

The Law also provides that government authorities may establish mandatory or voluntary certification programs, such as energy and water conservation certification plans. After approval, companies would be able to display (e.g., via a label) these certifications on their products or product packaging.

According to the Law, government agencies should encourage enterprises to introduce advanced clean production technologies, equipment, and materials, and should forbid companies from importing “backward” technologies, equipment, and materials that require high energy use and that are pollution-intensive. The Law also indicates that the competent departments responsible for clean production under the State Council (apparently referring to the agencies indicated at the end of this section as relevant contacts) and related departments with responsibilities for the evaluation of current clean production technologies will periodically issue directories and guidance documents related to the use of clean production technology and equipment, as well as products manufactured using such technology and equipment.


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