Circularity in action: innovations from China

Pioneers in the circular economy field in China, Wenjing Zhao and Stéphane Vernede have created new models of products and services that are being mainstreamed by major companies. They demonstrate a dedication to reducing waste, maximising resource efficiency, and promoting sustainable practices. Together they pave the way for a more environmentally conscious world.

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At the heart of the CirculUP! project lies a compelling mission – to spotlight and celebrate pioneering entrepreneurs within the Impact Hub Network, who exemplify the principles of the circular economy. By sharing their journeys, our goal is to boost awareness and promote the adoption of a circular economy in Armenia, catalysing a transformative shift toward sustainability.

China is at the forefront of the transition to the circular economy, with the government making it a national priority and businesses of all sizes adopting circular economy practices. Under this drive, Impact Hub Shanghai has been working with several entrepreneurs passionate about circular economy innovation, incubating and promoting their solutions to address various challenges. 


Among them are Wenjing Zhao, a fashion industry veteran who uses her expertise to recycle plastic waste into high-quality products, and Stéphane Vernede, a Shanghai-based French engineer who is converting organic waste into highly efficient and affordable renewable energy and fertilizers.


Wenjing Zhao founded GOODCYCLE in 2017 to tackle the root problem of raw materials and help to ensure a better future for her children. GOODCYCLE reduces environmental pollution by using 100% recycled, certified and traceable material for all its products. It has an integrated recycling industrial chain that encompasses traceability, design, and regeneration.


Some of the most popular products include rPET scarves and rPET canvas bags – both made from three recycled plastic bottles. These products have changed people’s perceptions of how recycled products could look and feel due to Wenjing’s commitment to design and quality.


GOODCYCLE has made a significant impact by recycling millions of plastic bottles and other types of packaging, reducing carbon emissions by more than 30 tons. It is not only profitable and sustainable but also contributes to reducing pollution and environmental harm, aligning with the broader goals of the circular economy.


Stéphane Vernede is the co-founder and CEO of Enwise and is a dedicated entrepreneur and scientist with a passion for transforming innovative ideas into practical solutions that benefit society. Enwise specialises in the development of green energy stations that convert organic waste, including wastewater sludge, human waste, and food waste, into valuable green energy and fertiliser. 


What truly sets Stéphane’s venture apart is its pioneering approach, which disrupts conventional waste management models. Enwise’s innovative technology not only directly converts waste into valuable products but also streamlines operations through remote monitoring and control, eliminating the need for on-site personnel. This technology is poised to make a substantial impact on the food industry and has already been used with clients such as PepsiCo and Oatly. 

Wenjing and Stephane’s remarkable success stories in the field of circular economy, as pioneers in China, serve as excellent examples for the CirculUP! project’s mission to foster a shift towards a circular economy in Armenia.


These two individuals have not only demonstrated their dedication to reducing waste, maximising resource efficiency, and promoting sustainable practices but have also managed to mainstream their innovative products and services in a market as vast and competitive as China’s. Their achievements showcase the potential for the adoption of circular economy principles on a larger scale, emphasising that this transformative approach is not only environmentally responsible but also economically viable. 


This article is presented in collaboration with Impact Hub Shanghai.


The CirculUP! project in Armenia is a transformative initiative spearheaded by the collaborative efforts of the Impact Hub Network, Impact Hub Yerevan, and the Environment and Health NGO, with support from the European Union in Armenia

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