Pawtucket RI wants to crack down and fine recycling scavengers. Scavenging is against the law that says anything put out to the curb is the property of the city. There are at least twenty cans and bottles some jerk threw out a car window at any given curb in the city. There’s even a lot of other trash that could be picked up. These items weren’t in a trash bin but they’re at the curb and can be recycled. Who’s going to clean that? Who wants to be accused of stealing city’s nickels?
What does this law mean for curb alerts posted on Craig’s List? I posted a metal bed frame once but no one came for it. How many soda cans do you think that’s worth? The recycling team left it for the trash men so it ended up in the landfill. If the town owns everything I put out to the curb and considers anyone taking it before them a thief why won’t they recycle my old bed frame? Why aren’t they excited about the big ticket items?
Officials implied anything recycling picks up will actually be recycled and NOT end up in the landfill. Who paws through someone else’s recycling picking out specific pieces only to throw them in their own trash? Eco-terrorists? The “scavengers” collect only the items that can be redeemed for cash and they actually REDEEM THEM! Usually this is a very small percentage of our recycling. And just where do the redeemed items go? The same place the non-redeemed ones go but then the city doesn’t get the money for them and that is their biggest complaint.
Officials claim scavengers can make up to $100 a night! So why isn’t everybody doing it? Because $100 = 2000 bottles/cans that are not crushed in a way that makes them unreadable by the RVM (redemption vending machine). That is over a pallet of soda cans! Can you fit that in your car? Imagine it as 2 liter bottles instead! Sorry but I don’t think people cruising Pawtucket are collecting 2000 redeemable bottles and cans a night.
Another reason this doesn’t seem feasible is the redemption center is not the most pleasant way to spend an afternoon. They are smelly, sticky and the machines are very often full, broken, or out of funds. How many machines would you need to turn in 2000 bottles/cans? Also how many redemption centers are you willing to go to? The machines are brand-specific based on their locations; Stop and Shop Soda bottles have to be returned to Stop and Shop or else no nickel.
So are the recycling guys turning the bottles and cans in for nickels? No they are taking them to a recycling center where the city pays per pound to leave them. You pay taxes to have trash and recycling pick up, and in some places you pay additional fees via special trash bags and bins that must be purchased from the municipality. The city takes your cash and pays the recycling center to take your recyclables. If the tonnage meets a certain percentage of their total trash intake they can get a discount. Odd isn’t it? They get a percentage off based on tonnage but they don’t want my metal washer, dryer, or bed frame.
The recycling center sells the byproduct to other companies who use it in new products thereby making money on it. Where does that money go??? Well I guess that depends on who owns the recycling center; in this case it is the state of RI.