Wednesday, August 19, 2009

The Battle to Claim Trash off of Berkeley's Streets

This morning is trash pickup time in Berkeley. As I walked to starbucks, I saw a person with a shopping cart on the residential streets. Her cart was filled with empty cans and bottles. She stopped at a house whose trash was ripe with bottles and cans set to be picked up. As she leaned over to pick these "free nickles" up, the owner of the home yelled at her from inside his house. He told her to "go away". What is going on here? This is a fight over revenue. Who gets the nickels? The City of Berkeley or the bums?

In other news, Lucas Davis and I are proud of this. I like his photo more than mine. Finally, I should note that today will be a historic day. Dora will join me at the UC Energy Institute's lunch so this marks her acknowledgement that she has joined the energy "fraternity".


Neil said...

I think the problem with the bums and the trash is that many of them tend to make a mess. I know that we have had this problem in our apartment complex. Sometimes there are just crazy people who just tend to throw everything around with no concern for the externality they create. What is more interesting though, is that many of the people who collect bottles for deposit are not bums. I live in the poorer part of Santa Monica (don't laugh - someone was shot just outside my apartment!). A few of the housewives in my street come on a daily basis and collect bottles. They would probably be described as lower-middle or working class. At any rate they are far removed from bums. They have gloves and little carts and sticks with pincers. Still, it is not a nice job and I wonder what the socio-economic/cultural factors are that make it totally okay to dig in your neighbour's trash in one neighbourhood and an unheard of taboo in others.

In a side note: I put all my bottles in a separate bag and leave it next to the recycle bin for collection. I think this is an improvement for all parties involved. Collectors don't need to root about in my trash, and I don't need to worry about finding my trash emptied all over my driveway (well at least in theory, it still sometimes happens).

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Sanjay Sawant said...

Amazing post, thanks for sharing such such a informative article Battle to Claim Trash off. I have enjoyed each article. I will save this in my bookmark.

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