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September 2013 Off-Road Rant

Posted in News on August 14, 2013
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There's no doubt you already know this, but I wanted to remind you that every day you throw away money when you don't recycle. No, this is not some "save the world" speech—though I agree that we all need to take some social responsibility—but instead more of a reminder that every day, you pitch money into your trash and/or recycling bin. Would you throw actual money into the trash? Probably not. But glass and metal are becoming increasingly valuable—especially with growing demand for steel and aluminim. Yet, most of us throw valuable metals and glass into either our recycling bins or trash bins every single day. That means that whenever your trash is picked up, your waste disposal company is making money off you twice—once when they send you the trash bill and again when they pull out all those valuable metals and glass.

While I do recycle, I, too, have been throwing money away. That is, until my trash company recently increased my bill from $66 to $99—a 50 percent hike. And there is no other option for trash pickup in my area. My trash can is rarely full, but my recycling bin is topped every week—extra money for them and less trash to discard. The bill increase was enough to convince me to do some of my own recycling, if for no other reason than to pay the difference in my trash bill. I recently bought some extra bins and my household now takes metal and glass directly to the recyclers. I made my first can drop-off to a metal scrapyard and brought home a check for $88! There was some heavier truck-derived scrap metal in my drop-off too, but metal is metal and money is money!

I'll continue to pay my inflated trash bill as the convenience of it still makes it worthwhile, but I can't afford to throw away those valuable metals and glass anymore—I have a bigger trash bill to pay!

Anti-recyclers may argue that there are no recycling efforts by their local sanitation companies so recycling is not an option. But that seems like all the more reason to keep your cans and glass separate and make some extra money off of them from time to time. There are some downtrodden souls who've been able to escape homelessness simply by collecting enough metals and glass to pull themselves out of the lowest point of poverty. There is a lesson to be learned from these individuals.

Metal and glass are only going to become more valuable. Ask any metal worker who pays more than triple what he/she did for steel 10 years ago. How valuable do scrap metals need to become before you start spending a few more minutes to make some extra money?

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