Monday, May 28, 2007

What's wrong with trash-diggers?

Ok, I have always been a great champion of recycling. If you ever throw away recyclable material in front of me, I WILL object. Well, the LA Times has a very intriguing article on scavengers (people who go through trash looking for recyclables). Here in California, we have a pretty huge refund for recycling, and it just got bigger. 5c for cans/bottles and 10c for bigger bottles, up from 4c and 8c, respectively. Because of this huge raise, more people are competing to get recyclables. However, they're still really nice people, and there even seems to be an honor code where they cooperate and understand each other's territory. However, as more people start scavenging, these are getting more and more disputed, but they still manage to work it out.

Now, I don't care what anyone else says, these people should be honored members of society. Even though it's purely for money, I love them for helping recycle what the rest of us are too lazy to do. Unfortunately, even this isn't enough, and we still fall short:

In California, redemption rates remain below the state mandate of 80%; in 2005, Californians recycled 61% of the bottles and cans covered by the redemption program, according to the California Department of Conservation.
So, we need more of these wonderful people, or we need to get off of our fat lazy behinds and recycle for ourselves.

Ok, now, you might be thinking that people who go through your trash aren't the type of people you want in your neighborhood. But, these people really are polite and friendly. There are several examples:

Yoli Sheridan, also of Windsor Square, leaves her bottles and cans in a cardboard box outside her trash bin to make it easier for scavengers to get to. She usually finds them gone hours later, with the box neatly folded.
Isn't that nice, they even folded the box back after they took the bottles. Heck, my best friend probably wouldn't do that if I gave him something worth much more than a couple of bottles and cans. Heck, I probably wouldn't see that box again. I also have my own personal anecdote. Every morning, when I walk to my bus stop, I pass by someone who wakes up bright and early to sort the recyclables he collects. I have never failed to say "Good Morning" to him. It might mean more if I said, "Buenos dias" but the principle still stands. As far as I know, he's a positive contributor to civilization, and a really nice guy. And someone who gets up at 7:00 has to be a good guy, right?

Ok, this was awkward, because it's my first post on social commentary. I feel like I rambled. Oh well, it's my blog, I get to praise people who I want to praise.


Jim said...

If only, if only.

Anonymous said...

I recently was verbally harassed for collecting cans in a neighborhood that I work in...I have a good job in an office that is adjacent to an apartment complex, I take a walk at break and I was confronted by an angry middleage woman who screamed we dont want you going through our ttrash here I did...Tim