Recycled Waste in Shanghai: Where it goes

For our regular readers, you will know that we have been spending last several months looking deep into how waste is managed in China, with a specific focus on how recycled waste is collected, sorted, and processed in Shanghai. This is driven in part by the belief that Shanghai has, and will, serve as a model for city development in China going forward. It is a city that not only has experience…

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Waste in Shanghai: Rising Pressures for the Informal System

China's waste management system is feeling the heat. Over the past few months, scandals from illegal dumping to capacity reaches of major landfills have exposed the complexities of Shanghai’s waste stream –and the challenges that exist in controlling its management. These issues are not unique to Shanghai – they represent broader trends and issues of consumption growth in many of China’s cit…

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Informal Waste Collection in China: A People-Powered Economy

China's waste collection and management system has recently captured public attention. Much of that attention has focused on negative incidents – such as dumping scandals in Shanghai and Wuxi – or uncertainty about the future of waste treatment, with expected landfill closures in Shanghai for 2017. But how much do you really know about waste beyond the headlines? Collective's work on waste i…

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China’s Landfills Are Closing: Where Will The Waste Go?

In China, waste and waste management have attracted national concern. From environmental issues like toxic chemicals in sea water, to issues affecting urban centers – like Beijing's burdened landfills – waste has become a central part of public discourse. With this in mind, we thought we'd share insights from our past and recent work on waste in Shanghai, and shed light on major changes to waste m…

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China’s Waste Collectors: A Profile of Mr. Lu

“Most people can make money from this. It’s pretty normal for waste collectors and people on tricycles to have over a couple million dollars in their bank accounts.”  — Mr. Lu, Manager at a large waste collection center Where is he from? Wenzhou, Zhejiang province What does he do? Mr. Lu is one of Shanghai’s most unique entrepreneurs. Like many large business owners, he has tracked commodi…

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Action Over Regulation: The Economics of China’s Recycled Paper & Cardboard

In a prior article in our ongoing series of waste management in China, we pointed out that rebranding waste as a resource can provide an alternative lens when discussing waste. As a valued resource, recycled paper and cardboard in China offer a unique case of how global market mechanisms and government regulation impact the role of waste in society. From foreign imports to sharp spikes in domes…

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China’s Plastic Waste Epidemic: What You Need to Know

The world produces approximately 300 million tons of plastics each year, and that number is only increasing. Furthermore, 22% to 43% of the plastic used worldwide is disposed of in landfills, according to the United Nations Environmental Program. With the rise in popularity of online ordering and takeaway or delivery services, the future of China's plastic waste — from consumption to disposal…

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Rebranding Waste: Refuse is a Resource

  Smelly. Useless. Truck. Bin Man. Trash. Annoying. These are all words that popped into people’s heads when asked what they first thought upon hearing the word "waste". A quick Google search reveals other phrases like “worthless”, “no purpose”, “no longer useful or required”, “the unusable remains”. While I don't deny the legitimacy of the definition, it is striking to me how many item…

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China’s E-Waste Cities Polluted and Left Behind

This article is in continuation of our previous blog post on the state of e-waste management in China. In our previous article, we highlighted a disconnect between China’s formal and informal recycling channels, as well as areas of potential growth for both e-waste innovators and Chinese officials: If the Chinese government wants to encourage a more dominant formal recycling system, it will…

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China’s E-Waste Problem Far From Resolved

On August 26, Collective Responsibility released a blog post about innovative e-waste processors. We highlighted the Japanese Olympic Committee and its use of old cell-phones and tech to create Olympic medals, as well as TES-AMM Shanghai, which accepts and processes e-waste. On a larger scale, a few industry leaders have gone the extra mile to improve East Asia’s formal recycling processes. Hua…

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