Hello readers, my name is Andrew Cheng and I’m the editor of recycledplastic.com. I live in Shanghai, China and have been in the plastic recycling business since 2005.
When did you move to China?
After graduating from college in 2002 ( I’m an UCSD Alumni! ), I immediately came to China to begin my career. I knew in my mind that the future marketplace would be here. To tell you the truth, back then, I had no clue what I was going to do here. I’ve never been to China, I don’t speak or write Chinese, and I’ve never worked before. I hopped on the plane, crossed my finger, and just hoped for the best.
So what did you end up doing when you arrived?
Everything! First, I had to pick up the language. Andrew Cheng is originally from Hong Kong but immigrated to the United States at a very early age. Before arriving in Shanghai, I knew a little Cantonese which is a Chinese dialect spoken in Hong Kong and Guang Dong provinces. It wasn’t much use as people here spoke Mandarin, the official language of China, and “Shanghai-nese,” a completely different monster.
While it didn’t take me very long to master the languages (several months), finding the right job seemed like an endless mission. For most expatriates in Shanghai, the entry job is to teach English. I’ve taught English to nurses planning to immigrate to western countries. I’ve taught English to young children. I’ve worked in a textile factory being the liaison between the factory directors and key accounts in western countries (JC Penny, Dickies USA, Marks & Spencer, etc…). I’ve worked in several internet retailers again dealing with English speaking clients. The list goes on…
Andrew, how did you get involved with plastic recycling?
My girlfriend at the time (now wife) had me start working in their family business, which traded and processed plastic waste. Her parents and uncles wanted to expand their business from trading locally to importing plastic waste from around the world. I spoke English, they didn’t. Everything worked out beautifully. At the moment, we import more than 500 metric tons monthly from more than 12 countries.
How is plastic waste imported into China?
It’s actually pretty complicated, I’m not going to go into this too much. I’ll be sure to write an article about this later on.
What happens to plastic scrap once it arrives?
I have a large network of factories I currently supply to. There are also clients coming to my processing facility on a daily basis looking for plastic scrap to either use for product production or resell. I guess you can think of it as Andrew Cheng’s supermarket for plastic recycling.
It sounds like you have your hands full, why did you start Recycled Plastic dot Com?
I’ve always been fascinated in computers and the internet. Since the blogging boom, I’ve always dreamed of owning my own blog. So here I am, a blog about recycled plastics.
My goal for Recycled Plastic dot Com is to share with readers my experience and knowledge in plastic, plastic recycling, and plastic processing techniques. For most readers, recycling means throwing recyclables into a bin. This is only step one in the scheme of things. In order for your plastic bottles to recycle into a new product, there are many complex steps involved which may include having it transported around the world. I’m going to share what I know with you!
Through Recycled Plastic dot Com, I hope to build a community where environmentally conscience people and professionals in the recycling business can discuss and learn about the impact plastic has on our environment. Through open, constructive discussions and commenting, we can further learn from one another about ways to reduce, reuse, and recycle.
Do you mind if your readers contact you if they have questions?
Not at all. My email is open to your questions 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Again, my name is Andrew Cheng and my email address is andrew[@]recycledplastic.com (remove the brackets).