To supplement income, many Americans rise early to patrol alleys and curbs for recyclables. In large quantities, cardboard has value. Some glass and plastic bottles are worth more because customers pay a nickel or so up front as a redemption value. Cities often provide bright blue containers to separate recyclables and use the income to offset the cost of refuse service. These bins tempt many people to gather whatever they feel is valuable.
Some city ordinances stipulate what is often called “dumpster diving” as a crime. Many recycling centers have closed. During the coronavirus stay-at-home orders, only essential industries continue to function. Dumpster diving is not an essential service. It is also a potential means of spreading COVID-19 because people often wrap their lips around plastic bottles that are discarded. The coronavirus can last up to 3 days on plastic and metal surfaces. Instead of staying away from potential pathogens, people who rummage through garbage and recycle bins can become carriers.
Money is tight for virtually everyone. With more people staying at home, household waste is on the rise. But do not risk your lives or the lives of others for a few dollars. City services use automated equipment to empty bins and separate recyclables. Workers at the plant wear personal protective equipment. Please stay inside to be A Bit More Healthy. Though sensitive to the need for extra income, your life is worth more than a plastic bottle.
- Beverage Container Recycling. calrecycle.ca.gov
- What's next for California container recycling after rePlanet's closure? wastedive.com
- Dumpster Diving and the Law. freegan.info
- 11 arrested in recycling redemption scheme of smuggling cans, bottles into California. latimes.com
- Beverage makers have dodged California’s recycling crisis. That may soon change. latimes.com
- 'It's just a nightmare.' Trash collectors overwhelmed by rising amount of household waste. cnn.com