Only In San Francisco – ECO-Burglary !

While staying in San Francisco recently I happened to observe the local arrangements for bin collection – basically all bins out on the same day with various companies responsible for the various types of waste picking up their bins at various times during the day. What I wasn’t quite prepared for was the sight of a gentleman in his 70’s – well dressed and very sprightly as are all the older San Franciscans I have seen walking and running around the city.

What was odd was his process of systematically opening the recycle bins for plastic and other recyclable waste and selecting specific plastic items and placing them in specific cloth bags he had over his shoulders. He proceeded down the street – scanning the contents of each of the bins before silently moving on.

It struck me that one of the biggest things I had seen so far other than the number of bio-tech companies around San Francisco was recycling and the city wide emphasis on reducing use and reusing items wherever possible. The general lack of rubbish is very impressive – given the throughput of people and density of San Francisco. It also means that there is a price and a value on everything – including the things that previously would have gone to landfill. In the words of the adage – “Where there’s muck – there’s brass” – or where you have waste there are financial opportunities !!

It strikes me that we have come full circle – when I was young the bottles of soft drinks had a return value and the onus was on the buyer to return the bottle to reclaim the deposit. Here’s to getting something back for all the recycling we generate and the re-use of it !! Now to find out what was worth putting in the bags – perhaps a new business “opportunity”.