Recently the Brokelyn blog set out to discover how much money a person could make foraging through Boerum Hill garbage cans for returnables.
Street journalists, Tim Donnelly and Conal Darcy, stumbled upon the idea while brainstorming alternative ways to generate income on their morning commute, writing “the two of us wondered whether those humble trash pickers are really laughing their way back to McMansions in Jersey. So we decided to find out for ourselves. “
Armed with only a push cart and some empty recycling bags, the duo spent two afternoons scraping the bottom of garbage barrels to try and make a buck. Getting into the spirit of the chase came quickly. They write, “collecting cans and bottles, you get a supernatural ability for spotting your bounty-in the street, on top of corner waste baskets, even at the bottom of someone’s bin in the mess of last night’s dinner. Bottles start to look like scattered nickels in the trash, making the whole thing like collecting coins in a Super Mario game: Sure, I don’t need the coin all the way at the bottom of the pit near the sea of hot lava. But I want it. “
How much did they make? About $5 an hour. Not a terrible take for strolling through Brownstone Brooklyn on a sunny afternoon. Though less than the minimum wage, the position did offer independence unlike many minimum wage jobs at CVS or Duane Reade.
However, after hearing what they had to endure collecting and returning the cans, I won’t be quitting my day job anytime soon.
Click the link for all the gory details on what it takes to be a bottle scavenger.