All neighborhoods have them, they probably have a few (it seems we do). When we first moved here, I looked out our window and saw a large dumpster in the street (across the street was doing construction). Some guys came and went through the bin, VERY thoroughly and took everything recyclable or semi usable out. They were pulling hand carts, and my lil’ American mind thought, oh how interesting the government recycling guys.
So now that I’ve been here longer, I’m a little more aware. These are the guys I always saw in downtown LA or at the beaches in Hawaii digging for plastic bottles and cans to recycle. Except these guys take it to the Brazilian extreme. They’ve got the jeito going on.
See, our building even asks us to separate out our recyclables and I think sets them out for these guys. I’ve noticed around town, all of the cardboard laid out for these guys. Businesses hand them their boxes for them to recycle it. It’s not just dumpster diving, they’ve got a symbiotic relationship going on with those with money.
I feel bad, as really how much could they be pulling in with recycling, compared to how much they’re pulling around on these handcarts. But I also really respect them, and others who go out and try and find a way to make money.