Municipal and Regional Level Analysis of Beijing's Post-Consumer Recycling Sector


American Research in the Humanities in China




Peking University


This project involves extensive field research into the informal recycling system centered in Beijing, assessing its local and regional effects, particularly in areas of Hebei and Hunan provinces. Beijing’s recycling sector is based on the labor of an estimated 300,000 rural migrant scavengers and collects an estimated 1.5 million tons of post-consumer waste (paper, plastics, metals) annually, but it has gone relatively ignored by scholars and faces neglect, if not outright discrimination, by the Beijing municipal government. Through extensive interviews with government administrators and migrant recyclers, as well as through the implementation of surveys and an extensive array of site visits, this study constructs the first comprehensive picture of this sector at a municipal and regional level; when work is complete, the collected data will be analyzed from a number of perspectives, and a book-length study on the topic will be produced.