WSJ Writer Samples Life as a Brooklyn Heights Bottle and Can Scavenger

We’ve recently written about the Scavengers of Brooklyn Heights, the ragtag crew of folks who rummage through neighborhood trash for cans and bottles and cash in on their deposit.

Area resident/WSJ writer Anne Kadet decided to find out what it’s like to be one of these urban bounty hunters:

WSJ: I picked Brooklyn Heights. I figured most of the locals were too busy and too wealthy to redeem their own bottles for nickels, and fussy enough to rinse their recyclables before tossing them.

What a bonanza. The folks in Brooklyn Heights can really drink! Starting on a quiet cobblestone street, I hit one jackpot after another.

In 45 minutes, I had sticky fingers, sore knees and six bags filled with craft-beer and Pellegrino bottles.

No one said a word. Joggers, businessmen and moms with strollers zipped by without a glance. I felt delightfully invisible. My dog groomer pretended not to recognize me.

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  • iblong

    Whoa. That was a pretty hard hitting piece of journalism right there. But seriously, do you know what you’re doing is against the law? Are you aware how scavenging leads to and supports indigent, drug and alcohol-fueled lifestyles, insuring these people never leave the street for a better life? Are you making light of how your hairdresser won’t look at you? How does that make a scavenger feel, when no one will even look at them, dismissing them as the dregs of society? Your bullshit scribbling here does nothing to serve your readers, your city, or scavengers. Put on your big boy pants, go do some real research, go back to school to learn how to write, then try again.

  • Joanne Haire

    Go somewhere else iblong

  • petercow

    Yeah – you know who would HATE the people that collect bottles and cans? Jesus.

    You live in the wealthiest places in the city, in one of the wealthiest countries on the planet – and you begrudge people the chance to work hard for a few pennies.

    You should be ashamed – I’m quite sure you’re not.

  • Princess

    Thanks for the post! One of the BESt “Xmas Carols” too! :)

  • iblong

    A typcal heartfelt response. Many like you base their opinion on emotion and just what’s been personally witnesssed. Rarely do people consider the broader implications of scavenging, such as the diversion of millions of dollars of funds for municipal trash and recycling programs, resulting in higher taxes and fess for all residents. Or the obvious opportunities for identity theft. Or how it provides cover for the “casing” of locations for other property crimes. Or how scavenging provides just enough funds each day to buy a handle of Popov or day’s worth of meth, heroin or crack, but not enough to get out of homelessness or indigency. And let’s not forget that it’s dangerous and unhealthy. The bottom line is that it’s illegal and generally detrimental for those involved. Cash in your recycling yourself and provide the funds to charities that make a real difference in your community. And do your homework. I have.

  • AEB

    “Writing beatnik poetry”? Sure you’re actually alive?