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Trash Talk with Adam Minter

Anyone living in China doubtless has a sense of the unholy number of people who seem to be involved in the trash trade here, and who will ferret away everything from your cardboard boxes to plastic bottles faster than you can unpack them or consume their contents. And maybe you’ve seen the opposite end of the supply chain, in televised shots of cities like Guiyu which seem to resemble nothing so much as the inner circles of Dante’s inferno, upended and focused on ripping apart cellphones and other electronics with all demonic fury.

But what is the real story behind the trash trade in China, and why does it remind us of the Godfather movies at times? Today on Sinica, we find out the answers to these questions and many more in an interview with Adam Minter, author of Junkyard Planet: Travels in the Billion-Dollar Trash Trade. We recorded this a few weeks ago during the Beijing Bookworm Literary Festival, and have been looking forward to today—the day we can finally bring it to your attention—for some time!