Greenpeace Gone Wild.

Since its inception in 1971, Greenpeace has enjoyed an almost unassailable reputation as an environmental crusader that answers to no one but the many individual green-tinted donors who support it. According to the organization’s website: Greenpeace is an independent campaigning organization. We do not accept money from government or corporations. That’s why our financial supporters…

E-Scrap in China: A Personal Perspective

Over the last five years I’ve published several articles that addressed China’s long-standing trade in imported first-world electronic scrap and other high-tech trash. It’s a fascinating topic, with multiple facets, none more interesting (to me, at least) than the willingness of American, Japanese, and European scrap processors to send hazardous materials to China in violation…

Recycling the Dream.

Sunday’s South China Morning Post had a story about an array of rumors which are driving people from the countryside into Guangdong Province’s thriving recycling industry [subscriber only]. The essence is here: Zhang Wulong is an unlikely looking bounty hunter. A gawky 19-year-old in a shabby T-shirt and jeans, his face still bears the marks…

Contaminated Exports … From Where?

A shipping container arrives at a port and is immediately sequestered for inspection. The product that it purportedly contains is legal for import, but two decades of unfortunate experience have taught the customs and environmental authorities that the foreign shipment possibly contains materials hazardous to human health. In the case of the newly arrived container,…

Wire Factory, Ho Chi Minh City

I took this photo at 10:00 AM, and already the heat must have exceeded 35 degrees, Celsius. It’s the rainy season here, and the humidity was stifling. Water, as the photo suggests, is an uncomfortable fact of life. Anyway, at the request of certain faithful correspondents, I promise to be more pro-active about posting scrap-related…

Circular Economy, Explained.

Since 2004, the highest levels of the Chinese government have emphasized the need for China to develop something called a Circular Economy. Like many passive observers of China’s environmental policies, I assumed that the term was really just a poor translation for sustainable development. How wrong I was. On Wednesday, I attended a speech delivered…

Not dead yet.

I’m in Tianjin this week, attending a conference that I’ll be writing about soon. Like most Chinese trade conferences attended by government officials, this one is a very long snooze: speeches and presentations are submitted and vetted in advance, bound in a book, and distributed to conference participants who have very little incentive to attend…

Toy Story

The quality control crisis in Chinese manufacturing may be on the verge of getting some high-level attention, if recent news coverage is any indication. In a stunning acknowledgement, China’s General Administration of Quality Supervision, Inspection and Quarantine [AQSIQ] yesterday released figures showing that 23% of non-export toys manufactured in six major provinces, do not meet…