Category Archives: consumerism

“Just before 8 a.m., Johnson Zeng eases his rented…



Just before 8 a.m., Johnson Zeng eases his rented Chevrolet into a space in front of Cash’s Scrap Metal & Iron in St. Louis. He’s in the market to buy scrap metal he can ship to China, and this is the first stop of the day in the middle of a two-and-a-half-week road trip to regular suppliers that started in Albuquerque and will end in Spartanburg, S.C. But that, Zeng says, is nothing. “My last trip with Homer,” he recalls, referring to Homer Lai, the scrap importer in China’s Guangdong Province who provides him with most of his business, “we drove 9,600 miles in 26 days.”

— From Adam Minter’s forthcoming book, Junkyard Planet, in an excerpt published as To a Chinese Scrap-Metal Hunter, America’s Trash is Treasure,” Bloomberg Businessweek (29 Aug 2013). See the link above for more.

Image: Thomas Prior / Bloombert Businessweek