Wednesday, April 22, 2009


...Hour Day

So we’ve established that March 28th was Earth Hour…today we’re upgrading to a full 24-hour for Earth Day.

Earth Day, celebrated on April 22, is a day designed to inspire awareness and appreciation for the Earth’s environment. It was founded by U.S. Senator Gaylord Nelson as an environmental teach-in in 1970 and is celebrated in many countries every year.

This year is the “The Green Generation Campaign” TM

taking care of mother earth

So on this day of the Earth let me share with you some photos of recycling Beijing way:

A few snapshots taken in Beijing

The junkmen/collectors/recycle men (收废品- ShouFeiPin) will weigh the papers and cardboard and then pay residents a few cents. After tying the newspapers and collapsing the cardboard boxes, they can stack them and take them to a recycling station.

The number of junkmen, recycling stations, recycling companies and manufactures has increased dramatically in the past 30 years but because of the global economic crisis, prices for scrap and recyclables have fallen 50 percent and with them the number of people who collect everything from paper to TV sets and refrigerators. It is estimated that there are around 60,000 individuals around town.

There are four steps to waste recycling: waste collecting people you see around town on their bike, waste collection stations, recycling companies and manufacturers who can use the waste. Most of the people are self-employed and are paid according to how much they bring in. Many are migrants who simply classify the garbage into what’s saleable and what’s not.

In Dongxiaokou, a village north of the fifth ring road of Beijing, hundreds of family collects and classify Beijing residents’ garbage. Plastic bottle, old TV set, books; polystyrene, glass, cardboard, etc… Here everything has some value (albeit smaller this day). Before the Olympics, paper sold for 3 yuans a kilo, now it’s barely 1.9 yuans, same for recycled polystyrene which went from 6.5 yuans to 3 yuans a kilo. Quantity has also decreased.

On a side subject, China has increased the poverty level from 785 yuans (€80-$120) to 1.100 (€110-$150) per YEAR; which means that there is now 43.2 millions people considered poor instead of the 14.8 millions before. The increased of the poverty level will means that more people can take advantage of the official help. The World Bank consider people who live with less that a €1 a day as extremely poor. (That would mean that 100 millions out of the 1.3 billions Chinese would be considered as extremely poor)
The average annual revenue for peasant is 4.140 yuans (€420-$500) and 24.932 yuans (€2.500-$3.000) in the cities.