Valley Recyclers See a Boom in Business

July 18, 2008 12:00:00 AM PDT
The Valley's poverty rate is among the nation's highest and in this tough economy, Valley recyclers are seeing a boom in business from people just trying to get by.Many people see cans and newspapers as just an extra way to make a few cents when it comes to recycling, but for those on low or no income, recycling means much more.

If you look at the numbers, life in the Central Valley may seem pretty bleak. The poverty rate remains among the nation's highest and many people are struggling.

While much of the economy is in a slump, it's boom times in the recycling business, as more folks realize there's money in what they may have once thrown away. Marcus Barile with Recyco in Fresno said, "We're seeing a whole lot of new faces we've never seen before. People are discovering buy-back recycling again. California redemption value makes each empty beverage container in California worth a nickel or dime."

The high price of gas and the rising price of food is enough to get more people looking for ways to get some extra cash. "Gas money and whatever I need, pretty much. That's about it. Maybe some baby food," said recycler William Gonzales.

The tough economic times are felt nowhere more than west Fresno County. It's part of the 20th Congressional District and was recently named as the hardest hit district in the nation.

The statistics shows half of people in families there have incomes below $16,000 dollars a year.

Veronica Estrada said she does whatever she can to provide for herself and her four children. Many people with low or no income rely on recycling to help.

For Mervin Gibson, recycling provides just a little extra. "A week, every week, fifteen bucks, a week, that's just sitting around the house and plastics here, can's here."

Marvin feels nobody's too rich to recycle. "You're throwing it away. You're throwing money away. You know why can't you put it in your pocket, put it in your gas tank and help your family."

These days nickels and dimes add up, and that's the value of a bottle or can.


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