Pandemic Patrons Pinch Pennies by Reducing, Reusing, and Recycling

Patron Travon Huley separates his plastics from his beer cans at Rio’s Recycling on March 5 in Coalinga, CA.

Photo Essay By Tamika Huley, CONTRIBUTOR
During dire times as these are, the pandemic and peoples’ inability to work have them looking for other sources of income more often. “Yes, we’re more busy,” Jose Olvera, a worker at Rio’s Recycling in Coalinga, California, comments on the surge in customers to sell their recyclables since the onset of the pandemic.

“Usually, the second week of January ‘til early February, it slows down, but right now, it’s still steady,” Olvera said.

Olvera points over to the very neatly placed extra-large bags filled to the brim with glass, plastics, and tins.

“Usually Monday through Wednesday it’s slow, now only Wednesday is slow, and the weekends are steady,” Olvera added.

Olvera doesn’t see a difference in the type of people who come to recycle.

“The people are the same. It’s been pretty busy all year, with the same faces more often,” Olvera said.