Recycling for a Living

You don’t have to go very far outside the cities of China to see the manufacturing that fills the air with smoke and makes the waters run green. However, if you go to the streets of a city like Shanghai, you see something kind of unexpected: recycling. You see recyclable material piled high on to the back of bikes, defying the laws of gravity as they maneuver through traffic. Most of the time you can’t even make it to a trash can with an empty bottle in your hand before someone is looking to take it away. It’s also a common sight to see people digging through garbage looking for cans, bottles, and cardboard. Where this might look like people are fanatically trying to help out their environment, in truth, they are looking for their next meal.

Recycling Collection Center From what I have been able to observe so far, people collect all sorts of scraps ranging from bottles to broken chairs, and then haul them to their local recycling collection centers. These “collection centers” really have no physical structures, but rather are just a meeting point where people know to bring things. One of these happens to be right outside the main gate of my apartment complex. In exchange for a balancing, bike load of cardboard, an attendant will pay the collector a sum of money, which, I am assuming, can’t be all too much. From there, I’m not really sure where the process continues, but I’m guessing that these small collection centers report to larger ones at a more district level within the city. I plan on looking more into this to find out the specifics, though I think I will run into a slight language barrier.

Published as part of the Blog Action Day

Mt. Qomolangma

Mt. Everest

On my trip to Tibet, we completed the hike to Mt. Everest (Mt. Qomolangma) Base camp, and stayed the night in a tent at the hike starting point, what i called tourist base camp. The hike lasted maybe an hour to an hour and half, and wasn’t too stressful, though we had our full bags with us which made it harder than it should have been. We also had the option of taking a horse and cart to the base camp for about 50rmb per person, but i think the hike was a lot more memorable. We read that it was possible to stay at the actual base camp, but when we got there their was no tents set up for rent. I would attribute this due to the fact that it was early October, thus past the peak season. The photo is a panoramic i took combining 7 (handheld) vertical shots using my 30D and Canon EF 28-135mm f/3.5-5.6 IS USM. Click the photo for a larger version.


I traveled to Tibet over the Chinese national day holiday in early October as we had the week off from classes. The main highlights of the trip were the visit to Lhasa, Mt. Everest, Namtso lake, and taking the new train from Lhasa back to Shanghai (53 hours). I put up a flickr set of the journey containing 419 of the “better” photos i took. I brought both my 17-40mm and my 28-135mm for the journey and interchanged them often.

Welcome to the Neighborhood

I have been living in Shanghai, China since the middle of May but have not got around to posting anything expect to my flickr account and the previous post, the photo of the Shanghai skyline. Today i discovered that a site called has a Google street view type service for Shanghai. For the uninitiated, Google street view gives you a street level view of the happenings along any given street in a city. They accomplish this by installing a 360 degree camera on the top of a van and driving up and down every street in a city. I’m assuming the photo is geotaged with gps coordinates at the time of capture, and using some proprietary technology they are placed on the map. Without further introduction, take some time and look around my neighborhood and let me know what you think. The place that should load up at the start is my apartment gate, from here use the controls to go up and down the street, and click around inside to pan around or zoom in.