SACRAMENTO (CBS13) — The recycling business is booming in California, and consumers are recycling at a rate of 82 percent which is the highest in the nation.

It’s not how most people want to spend their Friday afternoon – lugging and dumping their trash at a recycling center, but this is how people like Warren survive.

“I was working as a network hardware engineer for nine years,” says Warren.

After getting laid off this nicely dressed, well-educated single dad realized dumpster diving was one of the few ways he could put food on the table for his girls.

“Every little bit adds up, digging through garbage cans isn’t fun bit you do what you gotta do,” explains Warren.

Now he earns $40 a week, and Warren is not alone.

According to Cal Recycle, a record number of people are saying, “we’ve already bought the soda, so instead of just throwing it away, why not recycle it and make $2 a pound?”

From laid-off professionals to college students, a record number of Californians are cashing in on recycled cans and bottles, and they couldn’t have picked a better time.  Sites like recycling industries are paying more for aluminum than they ever have before.

Comments (73)
  1. Allen says:

    Really? Recycling to make $40 a week is the only way this guy is able to put food on the table? Isn’t he getting unemployment? What about his savings, stocks, other investments? If his income is that low, isn’t he eligible for welfare, WIC, free school lunches (and breakfast and dinner and weekend meal packs)?

    I’m not trying to minimize the struggle of this family, but try reporting the news, not creating it with partial facts and exaggeration!

    1. sac23kings says:

      Maybe the guy is a real man and doesn’t want to suck off of others because of his bad luck. Now you, on the other hand, sound like the type of “man” that knocked up his 16 year old girlfiend in the back of your honda civic, and then when you found out she was pregnant, you dumped her. Afterall, you should have no responsibility. She can collect food stamps, WIC, free school lunches, welfare, and generally leave the burden of YOUR mistake on the shoulders of others, such as myself, who didn’t decide to be stupid in high school and knock someone up, took responsibility for myself, and now am forced to pay for the same programs you named above, because people like you think it’s free Obama money that’s printed out of thin air, and not paid for by the productive people in society. Enjoy your welfare check, courtesy of idiots like me, who still believe it’s better to work for a living, even if it means dumpster diving, than to go begging for a handout from the government, who takes money from hardworking families to pay for your leeching.

      1. T says:

        sounds like Rush Limbaugh, Jr.

      2. Angel says:

        You have got to be the feeblest individual I have had the displeasure of meeting. You live in a country of people that believe helping each other is better then selfishly taking for themselves all the time. Must educated individuals know how a successful community is built and maintained! Companies go through problems and need to give lay-offs to some of the best employees at times. If you let them go homeless that “depreciates” the city. This does not help sustain a successful community. You must know nothing of economics. My paychecks go into those programs and I see people from that system graduate from college each year and when they do they put more back into our city. Then the money that went out to help them get through school and support their family. So before you go spitting out opinion why don’t you take the time to actually learn what you’re talking about instead of believing everything you see on TV. Opinion with no knowledge is just foolish.

    2. Justin says:

      He like 99.9999% of the others don’t save. They buy STUFF.

    3. Randy says:

      maybe he would rather work for it than going on welfare?!? i admire this guy, wish more were like him instead of just putting his hand out because he thinks he is entitled to something. Bravo!

    4. Vince says:

      It is frightening that your first impulse is to run to someone else to provide for you by rattling off every social program the government provides.
      I applaud the people who are doing everything legally necessary to provide for themselves and families without accepting handouts from the government. I wish more people did that.
      Allen you just personify what is wrong with America today.

    5. karl anglin says:

      Do not criticize you may have to
      do it yourself one day. You never

    6. Enrique Sanchez says:

      Allen: what a patrician response you’ve conjured out of your stuffy ivory enclave! It is tantamount to Marie Antoinette purportedly saying “Let them eat cake! (if they can’t have bread..)

      Exaggeration? I can see you’ve never been so low that $40 was actually real money.

      1. William Hamilton says:

        enrique you should read the totality of what marie antoinett was speaking of when the “let them eat cake” statement was made., it was referring to the peasents refusal to grow potatoes for food. The climate at the time had become to cold and wet for growing wheat,and the peasents were complaining that the goverment should provide them with wheat to make bread. Just like today the whiners and leaches want some one else to take care of them.

    7. Debrea says:

      Allen – You don’t realize how quickly savings, stocks and other investments (if they have any) are depleted when unemployed for a period of time. Not only is this man doing what he has to do to put food on the table, he is also still paying to keep a roof over their heads, electricity, water, you know; the basic neccssities. Add to that the cost of a vehicle or public transportation needed for job searches which are required by EDD in order to get that unemployment check.
      The sad truth is that unless you are an illegal immigrant with an anchor baby or two, or a young single mother, the government will tell you you don’t qualify for the varied assistance programs.
      I speak from experience. Try to pay rent, buy food and pay utilities on $1,026 a month from unemployment. My income is too high to qualify welfare, etc. And at the end of the year I will be taxed on that government assistance unemployment check.

      I suggest you get your head out of whatever cloud you live on and look at the real dilemna of the unemployed. Do you know that companies are hiring, but they don’t want the unemployed? Yeah, they figure since we were the ones laid off, we must be the worst of the bunch. We lost our jobs because of the economy, businesses struggling to survive by making cuts or shutting down.

  2. Lorie DeCristo says:

    how’s that change working for you America……

    1. Albert Macmeda says:

      I can tell you that, absent the election fraud that occurred in 2008, there will be some big changes coming in 2012!

      I tell our left wing they can keep their change – I want my country bacK!

    2. David R. says:

      Hmmm….last time I checked, jobs are being created, the auto industry is recovering, the stock market is up, and Bin Laden is dead. Sacramento is still struggling, but overall, things are looking up. Change is good!

      1. OKGuy says:

        david, pass the doobie. you’ve had too much already.

  3. Irene Chapman says:

    I recycle for purely selfish reasons. I live where I am not mandated to use the wasteful waste services of a city that cost a fortune. By recycling I can go to the dump about once every 6 weeks. I can keep more trash out of the landfill that will need to be replaced at some point and the county will take someones else s home and land to fill with garbage. When they condemn the property we will be handed a hefty tax increase to pay for it and to comply with all of the EPA rules and the lawsuits that invariably follow. The money I make by selling aluminum cans used to go into the vacation account now it goes for food or gas. I really can’t see supporting a family by recycling.

  4. Judy says:

    Allen unless you’ve been there, don’t knock it. Everyone in this household is unemployed (5 people not counting me because I am retired) and not for lack of trying. My daughter’s unemployment is about to run out (hers is only $109 a week-GA). We have no auto because we can’t afford to get it fixed. We are living off my social security basically. We can only afford 1/2 of our rent but have a wonderful landlord whose reaction to our offer to move was “Where would you go?”. God bless him. Yes we have food stamps. Turn up your nose all you want at this “white trash” family.

    Anyway, they walk the roads, etc. picking up cans for the little bit that can be realized. Every dollar counts.

  5. JustAGuy says:

    If you voted for Obama and you find making ends meet more difficult, then you brought this on to yourselves.

    Be sure to vote for Obama in 2012 if you want more of the same.

    1. David R. says:

      Um, do you have short-term memory issues? Wars in Iraq and Afghanistant, the financial collapse, the economic downturn and the bank bailouts all started before Obama took office. But you wouldn’t want to let facts stand in the way of your idealogical bent, would you? Meanwhile, the stock market is up, jobs are starting to be created, Bin Laden is dead, but Obama is somehow to blame for your problems?

      1. David R. says:


      2. JustAGuy says:

        During Bush, the average unemployment rate was 4 1/2%.

        It’s currently 9% and as high as 9.8% last year.

        …so, like I was saying….

    2. Quick says:

      Regarding “facts,” you are unfortunately, mis-informed. Each presidency spends its energy addressing previous events garnered from past seats. Perhaps if you dig a little further into history, you’ll uncover favoring one presidency over another is the equivalent toward the same you herald. Much Ado: Nothing.

  6. Miles Finch says:

    Judy, 5 people on the goverment teet and not a
    job to find ? No part time anything ? Paper route ?
    Maybe one of the 5 could learn how to fix cars with
    all their spare time ?

    1. Judy says:

      We try anything that offers. The electrician just had a couple of small jobs at a trailer park that was hit by the tornado. It is not for lack of trying. Paper routes nowadays usually require a car. Like I say, don’t judge until you have been there. We don’t believe in living off the government but sometimes there is no alternative. And don’t get started on my social security because I worked for that and had many in the previous generation that never realized a dime off it.

    2. mile says:

      yeah, putting in 38 dollar seals saves 1000 bucks, imagine the costs of computer work that need diagnostic machinery… offs

    3. Varion says:

      When McDonald’s was looking for 50,000 new hires a few weeks back over 1,000,000 people turned up. They hired over 60,000 and turned away more than 950,000 people. Many of these jobs (McJobs) are 20 hours every 2 weeks on 3 hour shifts.
      Don’t tell me that jobs are easy to get.
      Stock market is up because the fed is running the printing presses.
      Cars sell because they have a limited life. They crash. They wear out.
      Home sales are still dismal and prices are still dropping.
      Retail sales numbers are only up because of the price of gas.

      An illusion of statistics.

  7. JustAGuy says:

    I just looked her up. Caroline Spelman is a member of the Conservative Party.

    From American sensabilities, that’s like saying Barack Obama is a Tea Partier. Would someone from the UK please explain this to us Americans?

    1. JustAGuy says:

      Oops, wrong forum. Sorry.

  8. DeeDee says:

    I dont know how you can say that all people that are on welfare (food stamps and ect.) are just there for the hand outs. I worked for 9 years for one company but because of downsizing they closed our whole location…. I paid into the sytem for 9 years….shouldnt the people that pay into the system be able to benefit from it when their luck in on the low side???

  9. KJ says:

    What about the local Food Bank.? Taking recyclables out of our garbage cans reduces the money that the waste management company gets and so they raise our fees. By contrast, the Food Bank stocks food that is donated by the community and by local grocery stores looking to get rid of surplus food or food that’s close to expiring, in other words, food that might otherwise go to waste anyway. It may feel hard to ask for such a hand-out, but it beats spiraling into credit card debt, and it doesn’t burden the tax-payer.

  10. Gary says:

    $40.00 a week? I did the same thing for 2 years when I could not find a job and had my incomc built up to $250 to $300 a week until the great commodities crash 2 years ago. This guy is either lying (doesn’t want IRS to know) ir he isn’t trying too hard.

  11. Dripable says:

    That is very illuminating post..

  12. family dinner ideas says:

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  13. backlinks says:

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