China’s addiction to coal doesn’t just foul its air. It pollutes the ground, too, because power plants often dump leftover ash in landfills. Yulong Eco-Materials has found a use for that plentiful waste. The company, based in the central Chinese province of Henan, uses the ash to make bricks. “The material is easy to get,” says Sam Wu, chief financial officer of Yulong, which had sales of $44.5 million in the fiscal year ended June 2014.
Premier Li Keqiang wants more companies to address China’s environmental problems and bolster the struggling manufacturing sector. In August, a closely watched gauge of factory output fell to its lowest level since 2009. The slump contributed to the collapse in share prices, with the Shanghai index down almost 39 percent from its high in mid-June.