Introduction: Tipping Point (01:16)
Outside Beijing, reporter Bill Birtles tours a bicycle junkyard; it is one of many dumping grounds across China. The nation’s government has recently declared a war on waste.
Food Couriers (04:00)
Beijing produces 25,000 tons of waste daily; online delivery services generate 20 million orders and 60 million plastic containers every day. Birtles follows a food courier through his workday.
Growing Landfill Problem (02:13)
Birtles views a massive landfill outside Beijing. A recycling spokesperson explains that the dump site has swiftly expanded; resulting groundwater contamination and incinerator emissions create environmental problems.
Rubbish Pickers (05:57)
Birtles follows a man dependent on sorting trash for survival. He asserts that authorities are evicting the impoverished; his neighborhood is slated for demolition. Independent sorters recycle 90% of Beijing’s qualifying garbage.
High Tech Solutions (02:05)
Beijing entrepreneurs hope to rid the city of rubbish pickers. Reverse vending machines credit recyclers' bank accounts for plastic bottles. The system ensures proper processing of reusable trash.
Government Solutions: Independent Processors (05:11)
A rubbish picker delivers plastic bottles to a “Backyard Recycler.” Authorities are closing such operations; improper processing creates toxic waste water. Citizens assert that the government covers-up the country’s garbage problem.
Government Solutions: Resident Responsibility (03:40)
Beijing officials organize a media tour, showcasing a new garbage sorting system; citizens have difficulty with the process. One eighth of the city’s waste is incinerated and converted to energy; plastics create toxic emissions.
Government Solutions: Citizen Impacts (03:50)
Birtles follows a courier to his flat, which he shares with eleven others; he agrees with government proposals restricting food packaging. The reporter revisits a rubbish picker; his home is now blocked by a brick wall built by Beijing authorities.
Credits: Tipping Point (00:27)
Credits: Tipping Point
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