[OPE] Recycling in the depression: destruction of millions of Green jobs

From: Jurriaan Bendien <adsl675281@telfort.nl>
Date: Fri Jan 09 2009 - 19:04:40 EST

Wu is one of 160,000 collectors in Beijing who make a living from the
detritus of urban life - plastic sheeting, office printouts, bottles,
radiators and scraps of cardboard. Recycling
<http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/recycling> has become a global
industry and China <http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/china> is the
largest importer of the world's waste materials, taking in as much as a
third of Britain's recyclables for example. Then came the slump,
decimating the Chinese recycling industry and leaving Britain, the US
and others grappling with growing volumes of recycled waste and nowhere
to send it.

"It's a canary in the coalmine: it's the front and back end of
industry," said Adam Minter, who runs the Shanghai Scrap blog and
specialises in the metal trade. "Until about eight weeks ago, for
example, the entire [US] west coast paper market was sent to China and
most of it was sent south. It was processed and made into packaging for
products that then shipped back to the US ... But when US consumer
demand dropped off, that broke the cycle. Across the scrap trade, prices
have halved or worse in a matter of months. Each link in the chain is
disintegrating, from factories to scrapyards to collectors such as Wu,
56, a former farmer who now plans to return to Hubei province. Official
media reported that four-fifths of China's recycling units had closed
and that millions will eventually be left without employment.

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Received on Fri Jan 9 19:09:30 2009

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