The hidden junk industry

  • January 14, 2014

American writer Adam Minter will talk about the hidden world of globalised recycling at a Gates Conversation on Friday.

American writer Adam Minter will be discussing the hidden world of globalised recycling at a Gates Conversation on Friday.

Minter is author of Junkyard Planet: Travels in the Billion-Dollar Trash Trade. As a freelance journalist, he has covered a range of topics for publications that include The Atlantic, Slate, The Wall Street Journal, The Los Angeles Times, National Geographic, Foreign Policy, The National Interest, Mother Jones, Scientific American, ARTnews and Sierra.

Minter, who is the son of a scrapyard owner, will share his insider’s account of globalised recycling from the US to China in the Gates Conversation on Friday, 5-6pm, in the Gates Common Room.

In 2002, he began a series of groundbreaking investigative pieces on China’s emerging recycling industries for Scrap Magazine and, later, Recycling International that were recognised, in 2004, with the first Stephen Barr Award for individual excellence in business feature writing. Since then, he has been cited, quoted, and interviewed on recycling and waste by a range of international media. He is currently the Shanghai correspondent for Bloomberg World View.

In his book, he charts the globalisation of the recycling trade, focusing on the US and China, and featuring everything from self-made scrap-metal tycoons to late-night rubbish pickers. Minter discusses the complex issues thrown up by China’s growing wealth and finds that the more complex the technology, the harder it is to reuse the metals. He concludes that reducing the amount of waste produced is the solution.

More information

Latest News

Why technology needs feminism

What is good technology? Is ‘good’ technology even possible? And how can feminism contribute towards it? Those questions and more are at the heart of a new book co-edited by Gates Cambridge Scholar Dr Kerry McInerney and based on the popular podcast series she co-hosts. The Good Robot: Why technology needs feminism gathers together the thoughts of leading […]

‘Knowledge alone isn’t enough’

The summer before starting his PhD at the University of Cambridge, Rob Henderson was working up a book proposal with his literary agent. That book, Troubled, is published next month by Simon & Schuster and is part memoir, part social commentary.  In it Rob recounts his life growing up in foster care and his time […]

Connecting climate change and mental health

A Gates Cambridge Scholar is organising a webinar to publicise the formal launch of a public, online information hub on the intersection between climate change and mental health. Colleen Rollins [2017], editorial and project manager at the Climate Psychiatry Alliance, is working on the Ecopsychepedia (“EcoPsy”) project which will be the subject of a webinar […]

Reconnecting through music

When José Izquierdo [2013] was working on his PhD at Cambridge on how Latin American composers united European and local influences in the 19th century, he found a way to make his academic work come to life. Much of the music he was researching had never been heard before and he was also discovering old scores […]