New York City has been recycling for over 100 years. Today, the City’s Department of Sanitation’s Bureau of Waste Prevention, Reuse and Recycling manages a recycling program that pushes to increase sustainability in the five boroughs. Aside from city workers, there is an industry of people that scour the streets collecting bottles and cans carrying a five cent redeemable deposit.
Described as honest work by the large population of homeless and low-income individuals unable to find other sources of income, the job of collecting recyclables, also known as “canning,” brings in as much as $400 for some people. This interactive explores the history of redemption and tells stories of the lives of full-time canners.