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Published: 2013-02-28

Researcher examines deposit recycling culture in New York

NEWS The Atlantic, a leading American literary magazine founded in 1857, has published an article by Finn Arne Jørgensen, historian and researcher at Umeå Studies in Science, Technology and Environment, an interdisciplinary and interdepartmental research group at the Faculty of Arts, Umeå University.

Finn Arne Jørgensen

The article in The Atlantic is based on this year's Oscar-nominated short documentary film Redemption. The film is about individuals in New York City known as “canners”, who survive by collecting cans and bottles from trash and recycling bins and redeeming them for money.

Finn Arne Jørgensen, author of the book Making a Green Machine, which examines the historical development of bottle and can recycling, including its effects and techniques, asks “What is then a consumer supposed to do if he or her wants to be both green and socially responsible?”

He continues:
“Among the many readers' letters to the New York Times That complain of the annoyances of recycling, there are others That Consider Their non-recycling as a form of redistribution of money: "Cheers to our homeless for keeping the park clean. It's hard work, but they're doing it, I plan to add my empty cans to a garbage container for someone needier than I, "wrote one New Yorker in 1985. It is a convenient, and probably well-meaning, choice, for sure. But it is certainly not a simple path to redemption."

Read the Finn Arne Jørgensen's article "A Pocket History of Bottle Recycling" at the 

Editor: Per Melander