Cheap Chinese Junk Goes Greenish

June 22, 2009 at 6:54 am | Posted in News | Leave a comment

b1003053Even Chinese factories — the source of unnecessary oceans of mass-produced cheap junk; let’s not mince words — are now jumping onto the waste-reduction bandwagon. Massive quantities of waste matter left over from the craft-manufacturing process used to be discarded. But these days, according to the gift-industry journal Global Sources, much of it is being scavenged, recycled, repurposed and reused:

“Typical waste in craft manufacturing includes leftover materials, residue, defective and broken products, and contaminated water. At most suppliers of ceramic models, the defect rate is 10 percent and the breakage rate is 3 to 5 percent. Melting rejected pieces for reuse is difficult due to the temperature requirements. As such, enterprises face the problems of accumulated waste and decreasing clay supply.”

But 1,100 manufacturers in the city of Dehua “are finding ways of reapplication. [Their] total utilization rate of recovered material is 90 percent, amounting to 30 kilotons per year. This saves US$2.2 million of expenditure and translates to about US$11.7 million in output.

“Waste ceramic is recycled by pulverizing the substance and fortifying it with additives before fresh clay is combined in specific proportions. The resulting material costs 30 percent less than alternatives. Being previously subjected to heat, recovered ceramic has lower temperature requirements, minimizing energy consumption. The defect rate of finished products is also reduced…. Of the 50 kilotons of clay employed annually by [Dehua company] Fujian Guanfu, 6.5 to 7 kilotons become detritus. The company reduces production outlay by nearly US $600,000 via the use of all scrap material.

“At Fujian Dehua Ningchang Ceramics Co. Ltd, the utilization of recovered ceramic raises output value by US $1.5 million each year. In addition, the more than 30 plaster recycling enterprises in Dehua repurpose 220 kilotons of plaster generated by ceramic molds, dropping costs further. They established the Dehua Plaster Science & Technology Association for technological improvements and information dissemination.

“Some makers, including Fujian Dehua Ningchang, have also started recycling slag tailings from the manufacture of ceramic models and metal glaze. About 100 megatons are generated annually in China. This byproduct does not require crushing to process, thereby reducing the manufacturing cost of the metal glaze and ceramic items made from it.

“Most of Fujian Dehua Ningchang’s ceramic photo frames have recycled content. Pieces with 40 percent waste ceramic and versions that use 80 percent slag tailings are priced 40 and 60 percent less, respectively, than releases exclusively in virgin clay…. Fujian Jiamei employs 90 percent of its leftover materials, including plastic foam. The step results in cost reductions of 5 percent. Similarly, Fujian Dehua Jiamei Printing uses recycled paper in its gift boxes and bags. This lowers prices by more than 10 percent.”

Which means … even cheaper Chinese junk. But hey, at least it contains recycled materials.

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