recycling value chains


A metal door is laid over this community waste recycler’s scale to enable its users to weigh massive bags of styrofoam, plastic bottles, reams of cardboard, and any other large-but-light object. Were it not for the inflexible door, the objects would touch the ground, making them impossible to accurately measure.

The individual’s name, the quantity of recycled material they’ve brought, and the amount they were paid based upon day’s market price is recorded in the ledger resting upon the scale.


Interesting to glimpse this next step in urban China’s formidable informal recycling process – the follow-up to the legions walking from one municipal trash bin to another, deftly employing their own preferred sets of tools (or simply using their hands) in their search for their (paid) contributions to the city’s recycling stream.


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