Scavenging is one of the oldest continuous forms of industry found in human settlements. Never romanticized,
it nonetheless seems to be always with us. The value of aluminium cans and other recyclables travels up and down much like that of say oil. When the price is good scavengers get busy creating a commodity from rejected material and earn some minor income for themselves. Spend any time in a built-up area and you eventually spot scavengers. That bastion of high priced housing and advanced technology, San Francisco, is no exception. Lately, though, the cities network of businesses where pop cans and such are redeemed has begun to thin out. This is tough on the scavengers.
Collecting cans to survive: a ‘dark future’ as California recycling centers vanish. Poor and homeless San Franciscans rely on income earned by trading cans for cash, but their subsistence is under threat as hundreds of centers close down
image: Ken Ishikawa via Flickr/CC