Recycling Market in China Shattered, Glass Bottles Turned Away
China has been one of the largest importers of waste material. But as the world economy has slowed, there has been a severe drop in demand. Biz Journal quoted Brian Scaffer of Blue Mountain Recycling, located in Philadelphia, as saying the values of recyclables had fallen 80 percent in a four-week period last fall.
Millions of poor people in China make a living sifting through the garbage, pulling out anything of value, then selling their wares to a middle man, really just living a meager existence with the small pocket change earned (that is now even smaller). Wu Wenxiu, a recycle-man interviewed by the Tapai Times was upset to learn, his wholesale buyer would only pay him 1 RMB ($0.15) for two pounds of plastic.
While walking around in Shandong Province, China, I found evidence of a slowing waste market. In the video that accompanies this story, you will see a large pile of glass bottles, abandoned after being pulled and separated from the garbage for recycling. Before the drop in demand this glass would of been worth a lot of money and more importantly these used bottles would have been recycled into new products.