Summary of Shanghai Talks Trash

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China is the world’s largest producer of trash. Traditionally, informal trash collectors, often specializing in different kinds of material, have been responsible for keeping recoverable material out of the country’s overflowing landfills. Yet trash in China keeps piling up, and the central government has thus started to take waste management into its own hands by mandating cities to improve their recycling rates. Two reporters from Chinese business magazine Caixin traveled to Shanghai to study how the world’s most populous city is trying to implement an ambitious waste-sorting program. getAbstract recommends their analysis to public policy experts as well as business professionals and environmentalists with an interest in China.

About the Authors

 Teng Jing Xuan and Ge Mingning are reporters for China’s business magazine Caixin.



Waste from businesses and households has become a major source of pollution in China. The government has thus tasked the governments of 46 cities with putting waste-sorting systems in place that will enable them to recycle 35% of collected household waste by 2020.

Informal waste collectors seeking to earn an extra income by selling recovered material to recycling plants have traditionally handled waste collection in Chinese cities. Although some experts credit freelance waste collectors...

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