Recycling in China

When it comes to protecting the environment, people in China don’t care about it as much as people in the US do. But when it comes to recycling and reusing, Chinese probably do as much, if not more, than Americans.

They do it mostly for a different reason. They can make some money for recycling.

My parents in China save all newspapers and water bottles. Once they accumulate enough, they take them to a collection center. They get paid for the papers and plastics by weight.

When my parents got a new microwave recently, they sold the old one to a repair shop in the neighborhood. The parts can be reused.

There are all kinds of repair shops on the streets in their neighborhood. You can have electronics and watches repaired. You can have new clothes made or old ones amended and fixed. You can also sell furniture or other stuff to people who collect them on the street.

Many times I saw people who were picking plastic bottles from trash cans on streets, at bus stops or in parks. They are not motivated by environmental concerns, but by a desire to make money. Some make a living from doing that.

In China recycling is considered an activity done by poor people with low social status. That’s why my brother is not very supportive of my parents doing recycling. In his opinion, they don’t lack that kind of money to be bothered with recycling.

I, on the other hand, thought it was a good idea. So I supported my parents’ recycling efforts during my visit with them by saving my water bottles.

I believe everyone can make a difference. Every little bit of effort counts. 

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