Converters

Octo𝘣𝘦𝘳 2, 2020

One of the nonessential businesses that closed back in March was the recycling centers.  They have been open now for a while and I have been making periodic trips getting rid of my boxes, food tins, plastic, and glass.  I rarely buy anything in plastic bottles as I know often as not even the “recycled” plastic ends up in the ocean or a landfill.  Instead I buy canned soda or water.  Our local center accepts these tin cans and there is always at least a half full bin waiting for additions.  My problem is that I am too cheap to give the cans away.  Instead I drive 20 miles to a recycling center that pays me for my spoils.

During the copper shortage recyclers were paying top dollar to recycle the metal.  All the abandoned industrial buildings I was documenting during the 1980’s and 90’s had the wiring stripped and any machines salvaged.  This was not by the owners, but instead by copper thieves.  These scavengers have not let up as used copper is still a high market item.  We had our air conditioner stolen from behind our house seven years ago.  At the time I learned this was common on “for sale” houses and new construction.  It made me wonder why the buyers never asked where the copper came from.

It seems the new market has shifted to catalytic converters.  My brother in law lives in Seattle and had his cut out of his car.  His door cam recorded two more unsuccessful attempts.  He was forced to buy a steel plate to put under the converter to make it harder to steal.  When it came up on our family Zoom call, my brother mentioned it had happened to him as well.  When I looked online, I found a new converter ranges from around $200 to as much as $3500, depending on the make and model of the vehicle.  I heard there were several pawn shops who specialize in buying and selling convertors.  They will buy your “used” convertor for $80.  I bet they do not get many of those claim tickets redeemed.

𝗧𝗛𝗢𝗨𝗚𝗛𝗧𝗦:  I packed my Jeep with the cans I had been storing for the last six months and headed for the recycling center.  I realize it costs me two gallons of gas to get there so I do not go very often.  They weighed the cans and then paid me a whopping $18.  Minus the gas this was a cool profit of $14.  Melissa tells me it is not worth it, and I should drop them locally.  I know she is right, but I still do the work.  I have mentioned we completed two antiracism studies over the last months.  Both ended with a challenge to do the work.  You may do it wrong or you may not think it is enough, but it is a step in the right direction.  Apathy and inaction support the existing systemic racism.  Do the work.  Change is coming and it starts with you.

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