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The Madera Tribune

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One man’s trash is another’s treasure

June 23, 2016

Homeless find livelihood in recycling

The scars from old cuts along Ramon Hernandez’s fingertips tell a story.


On one typical day, from midnight to around 4 a.m., Hernandez scoured Madera, trying to get recyclables — mostly cans and bottles — before other people grabbed them up. After climbing into dumpsters in the dark, Hernandez couldn’t always see what he was grabbing and sometimes ended up cutting his fingers on sharp edges of aluminum cans.


“But you don’t really care about it because you’re feeding your addiction,” Hernandez said. “That’s what I was doing — I was feeding my addiction.”


For many homeless like Hernandez, recycling provides the money needed for food, alcohol and drugs...

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