Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Recycling poachers make the news

Finally, KTVU has turned its all-seeing eye to the MOST IMPORTANT ISSUE OF OUR TIME: Recycling Thieves.

As longtime readers know, I have a borderline unhealthy obsession with Recycling Poachers. Look, I have enough problems already without trying to figure out why, but I think it's (1) the continuous noise of bottles clinking together the night before recycling pickup and (2) the fact that they leave the bins open and then trash blows up and down my street, making it less aesthetically pleasing and thus further away from the Platonic Ideal of a Street that I want and (3) it activates some particular Cell of Krazy in my brain that I don't even understand and that Science hasn't begun to explain, what with all the trips to Mars and cancer and other priorities.

ANYWAY, in my old hood I finally figured out I could deal with this by bringing the bins out in the morning but in my new hood the trucks comes by at like 6 am and that's no longer an option. So I'm basically locked in a mano-a-mano standoff with the guy who steals all the recycling every week on my street. Surprisingly, he appears to live in the neighborhood, because I sometimes see him on the 5 Fulton on non-trash days, suggesting that he's a local whop apparently commutes downtown to do something and just has a Recycling Poaching sideline business.

He pretty much dominates the poaching in my neighborhood. He's out there with his cart starting around 6 and systematically cleans out every bin in like a 4-block radius every Monday night. I would almost admire his industriousness if he wasn't driving me fucking insane.

So in conclusion I'd like to say that I'm crazy.


GG said...

How about also (4) Given that the recycling industry is significantly subsidized by the public, we are paying twice for (a) the city trucks who make their appointed runs and (b) the payment they give the poachers when they bring in their bottles. So we're basically paying the poachers to come wake us up in the middle of the night. For me it's also (5) the dead-eyed, glazed expression with which they wander through the neighborhood, displaying not even one iota of shame about what they're doing.

Oneplusoneplusoneequalsthree said...

I feel your pain..its brutal. I have now taken it upon myself to separate my collectables into another bin so the poachers can quietly and cleanly take their goods!

Rachel said...

I don't know how you get this service, but my landlord has Recology/Sunset Scavenger unlock our garage and come in to get our bins. No poachers allowed!

subframe said...

I somehow missed getting this crazy gene, cuz this doesn't bother me at all. Interesting to see the 5 Reasons Why this bothers people.

In my hood, the crew is usually either a dad and his little kids or an elderly lady. I figure that in both cases, it's kind of got to suck to have to dig recycling out of bins to make money. I wouldn't want my dad or grandma doing it.

The double-pay thing is interesting though. I'm gonna have to research that some (i.e. read a few not-very-informative paragraphs on the city website then go get some lunch or something)

TK said...

Rachel - Yeah, that's our next move. It costs something like $12 a month. Probably worth it.

subframe -

It's a particular kind of crazy, I guess.

Alissa said...

Maybe I missed this in a previous entry, but I'm unclear as to why this drives you so crazy. Is it the noise? Or do you think these people are depriving you of things that rightfully belong to you?

Nate said...

In Philly, we call these people "scrappers" and a friend of mine made a documentary about one of them. (http://thescrapper.org) In the film, the guy, Joe, identifies himself as a "good scrapper" because he makes sure people's garbage is picked up after he goes through it.

Unfortunately, on my block we have a bad scrapper. I've tried to take the approach of seperating out desirable items into one bin, but it doesn't make a difference, the scrapper will still open up the kitchen trash bags and syphon everything out between the trash cans and the recycling bins. Fucking dick. I don't know what he expects to find. Because it is fine-worthy to co-mingle trash and recyclables. This really does drive me crazy!

Tamagosan said...

Oh yes, a lifelong obsession of mine as well. I made a flier (on Printshop!) in middle school to give out to our neighbors, suggesting that they put out their stuff in the early morning. That's when we had the little open blue bins and the economy was great so it wasn't really a problem.

It makes me sad on many levels (mainly the failure of capitalism in America to provide income equality, which I guess is like 400 levels) but the main issue I have right now is that Glen Park seems to be hit by waves of scrappers all evening. (Thanks, Nate, for the term! Will check out the doc. Just visited your fine city and found it pretty awesome actually...)

So whenever I'm in and out of the house parking the bike after work, walking the dog, running to the store, etc. on the night before garbage pick-up, I'm often left with an awkward social encounter: "Hi, I'm just going to take my dog whose expensive food I buy with my steady job back into my comfortable house which is adequate to shelter my family. Please continue fishing through my trash as I acknowledge you with a stumbling 'hello' since the can is like 5 feet from my front gate and hope you're not just looking for identities to steal."

Patrick Calahan said...

I thought I was the only one with this obsession. Nice to know I have company.

It's seems to me that f we could just repeal the frackking bottle bill, it would put an end to this problem once and for all.

The bill is a relic from the 1970's, before curbside recycling. It's long past time for it to go.