Chinese factory turns wedding photos into fuel

With millions of divorces taking place in China, marital photos often end up as waste.

By AFP

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Photo: AFP
Photo: AFP

Published: Thu 11 Apr 2024, 3:46 PM

Last updated: Thu 11 Apr 2024, 6:44 PM

In Northern China, Liu Wei turns stories of heartbreak into a source of electricity. Wedding photos are big business in China, with elaborate captures of newlyweds.

With millions of divorces taking place in China, marital photos often end up as waste. Liu's company turns these destroyed memories into fuel.


"From our daily business exchanges, we found the destruction of personal belongings is a blank space nationwide," the 42-year-old told AFP at his factory, 120 kilometres (75 miles) from Beijing.

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Despite cultural taboos around destroying images of living people, Liu's facility receives an average of five to 10 orders per day from across China.

Workers heave the images onto a forklift truck and scatter them onto the warehouse floor for sorting.

They obscure every face with dark spray paint to protect client privacy and smash unshreddable glasswork with a sledgehammer.

"These people are all trying to find closure," said Liu. "They mainly want to unpick the knots in their hearts."

Liu gives clients a final chance to recover their items in case they regret their decision.

After getting the green light, he films his staff gently pushing the photos into the shredder's gnashing teeth.

The debris is taken to a nearby biofuel plant where it is processed with other household waste to generate electricity.

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