Uncertainties Abound for Hong Kong’s Cardboard Collectors

Cardboard Collectors

The Hindustan Times has taken an in-depth look at the uncertainties Hong Kong’s “cardboard grannies” face amid China’s import bans.

Cardboard collectors across the region—mainly women older than age 60—pick up discarded packing boxes from shops, markets and residential buildings and sell them for a few dollars to recycling depots. There are 2,900 cardboard collectors in the region who depend on this “informal economy” as part of their livelihood. But China’s imminent waste ban could end up wiping out the economy these workers depend on.

Hindustan Times has more details:

As China closes the door to imported rubbish, even for semi-autonomous regions such as Hong Kong, the livelihood of the latter’s nearly 2,900 cardboard collectors is under threat. These collectors pick up discarded packing boxes from shops, markets and residential buildings, and sell them for a few dollars to recycling depots, where cardboard is more valuable than plastic. 80% of them are over 60, and among those 80% are women. With Beijing no longer wanting the country to be a global trash can, the depots might be forced closed, leading to a “waste paper crisis” in Hong Kong.

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