Mr. and Mrs. Cheng have a business in recycling in the Jiu Xianqiao neighborhood no.6. It’s the kind of business you find in every neighborhood. They collect and sort out recyclable waste, like paper or plastic, and sell it to a recycling station. Typically they pay anyone who brings the waste and sell it with a small mark-up. For paper, Mr. Cheng tells us, he pays 0.7 RMB/kg and he sells it with a 0.1 RMB/kg margin for 0.8 RMB/kg. He can sell at least one truck of waste every day. Per month he and his wife earn more than 8,000 RMB.
Mr. Cheng has been recycling waste for 10 years and he’s pretty satisfied with his job. He works for himself and his working time is flexible. Mr. Cheng tells he earns more than people doing a normal job. He might even use some of his savings to take his family on a trip to Europe one day, he says.
Mr. Cheng lives with his wife and their eight-month-old daughter in a small one-story house next to the waste collection site. Originally they are from the Henan province. These days Mr. Cheng’s parents also live in Beijing, near Jianguomen. Still, they visit their hometown once a year, on Tomb Sweeping Day.
Mr. Cheng thinks that the policies of the Chinese government are pretty good; otherwise he wouldn’t have been able to settle down in Beijing and live such a good life. He says that most people in Beijing are from other provinces and, thanks to the good policies, people are free to go to any place they want.