Conversations with the Can Fairy

I woke up this morning before everyone else and quietly snuck out of the tent to go lay on the sand. As I lay there watching wind erosion in miniature, a woman came by with her two kids to collect our cans from the night before. I thanked her for picking up after us, which I guess threw her off since most people think of these can collectors as some sort of street scum.

She sent her kids off to look at another campsite, and I asked her how many cans were in a kilo. "Well, it depends," she said, "If there's a lot of the big tall cans or just little ones." She paused. "But I guess its about 60 to 70 cans in a kilo"

"And where do you sell them?"

"Oh, any scrap metal place will buy them... But it used to be a lot better you know. They used to pay 17, 18 pesos for a kilo, but now its just 9."

She left me wondering what her life must be like, and feeling angry that what she was doing was percieved by the public as a poor persons scavenging rather than a grassroots recycling program.


1 comment:

anayram said...

i also think these people do a very important job, they should be paid more for what they do, but this won't happen without awareness.

perhaps you can write an article on this andon, or on other forms of recycling practiced in the places you visit.

right now i just remember how glass and plastic bottles are sanitized and used to sell salsas or preserves, but i believe this happens many other places too (?)