Most of us in the United States don’t think much about recycling. We rinse our yogurt containers, crush our milk cartons, and break down our boxes. But once our trash hits the curb in a colored bin, we forget about it.
For decades, China has been the main destination for low-grade plastics from the United States. But since the Chinese government began restricting waste imports in 2017, nearly half of all American plastic exports have shifted to Thailand, Malaysia and Vietnam.
Welcome to Minh Khai, Vietnam – where plastic from all over the world finds new life.
This film documents the experiences of Minh Khai’s residents as they wrestle with the blessings and curses of an empire built on our trash.
Directed by Yutao Chen
Produced by Yutao Chen anbd Francesca Fenzi
About the filmmaker: Yutao Chen is a multimedia journalist and filmmaker practising visual storytelling across various platforms in the United States. Originally from Shanghai, China, he produces multimedia work that sits at the intersections of photography, filmmaking and design. Yutao strives to explore creative ways of approaching stories visually and experiment with new storytelling tools and techniques. His work has been recognized by the Online Journalism Awards, the Telly Awards and the Society for News Design. After graduating from the Missouri School of Journalism and UC Berkeley Graduate School of Journalism, Yutao is currently a news designer at the Washington Post, constructing visual stories for both digital and print platforms.
Individuals and communities alike require resources to survive and thrive. In a world where our natural resources are…