We’re working on a post about household hazardous materials (because April or May is when most counties or municipalities that have regular household haz-mat capabilities have special collections.
Household Haz-Mat disposal is completely different and far more important than regular recycling. We know that a lot of people don’t recycle, though few will admit). Okay: I admit I don’t always recycle for a variety or reasons including laziness or I’m in a rush.
I also know that if I don’t put my recyclables into a separate bin, somebody else is going to sort through my trash. And not just because the lack of a recycle bin targets my garbage cans for dumpster divers, most of looking for deposit bottles but that they could also find things that are private. So, if you think recycling is a nuisance, here are some things to consider.
Also, please check back later to find out what is Household Haz-Mat includes (you might be surprised) and how to find out when your area has collections. Household Hazardous Waste is far more important than regular recycling because it’s critical to keeping the water we drink, cook and or bathe in safe.
We are Not Advocate that You Stop Recycling or Don’t Start Recycling
We aren’t saying it’s “okay” to not separate your glass, cans and plastic or metal objects, that is likely within your right where you live. I’ve lived in places that wouldn’t take my trash unless there was a recycle bin set next to the can and I’ve lived in places that don’t seem to care.
Number One Reason to Recycle: You Invite People to Dig Through Your Trash
And: if you don’t “recycle” many people at your curb or dumpster, as well as people dumps or waste management companies will do it for you. There are even organized groups of environmentally conscious people that dumpster dive.
People that pick through trash for deposit bottles make a lot more money than you think. If you think only homeless people in cities dig through cash for deposit bottles, you are our of touch.
And, With raw materials costing so much these days, people often make money off of non-deposited items such as glass jars or even tuna fish cans. And copper: that’s more than a pretty penny these days, even if it means ripping apart old electronics.
Sometimes it’s done illegally by people looking only for recyclables, other times it’s people looking to steal bank or credit card information, a good reason to invest in a shredder for any paper with information you don’t want used against you, including bills and bank statements.
Sometimes dumps allow people to go through trash and look for anything of value. Other times, the dumps and/or waste management people hire people to sort through trash for recyclable items.
So, while we don’t advocate that you don’t recycle, you should know that it may be a reason for someone to go through your trash and find other things you do care about.
Here’s Why People and Waste Management Companies Sort through Trash
Say you live in an town where 1000 people throw away 30 soda/beer/water cans or bottles with DEPOSITS a week. And before you think that is a high estimate, count how many bottled beverages you drink a week and think about how many people you rarely see without a bottle of water or a can of Diet Coke in their hand, forgetting about people who drink beer.
That’s 30,000 cans a week times 52 which is 1.56 million cans a year. Factor in that most states have bottle deposits of 5 to 15 cents a can/bottle. That adds up to $78,000 to $234,000 per year.
Not only is it worth individuals to go through your trash, the quantities of non-recycled deposited bottles mean it’s cost-effective for dumps or waste disposal companies to pay someone to pick through your trash.
Here’s a picture, courtesy of Surprise, Arizona. (How much do you want to bet that these people soon see so much of everything that not much surprises them after a week or so?)
Note: the above photo was downloaded from
The facilities at the dumps at the last two places I lived both had people sorting through trash to find anything that could be recycled. For the record: I don’t spend a lot of time at dumps, but the last place I lived didn’t have trash collection. We had to bring our trash to the dump. For $2.00 a bag, no less!
Remember: two types of Green people love green: those who want to protect the environment and those that like money. Both will gladly sort through the nastiest trash for either reason.
And even if you disregard bottle deposits (or no there are no bottle deposit on water, juice or or liquor bottles, which is most states), there’s a lot of money in recycled tin, aluminum, glass and even plastic.
So: you might as well recycle and keep the money (and any private items in you dispose of) to yourself. Need help paying for a shredder, which isn’t really a luxury for anyone these days? Save up those bottles and cans and deposit them. It adds up quickly.
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