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Recycling up, scavenging pays the bills

Digging for trash and paying for it? Most people would turn up theirnose at the idea. Not Kelly Maby. The Wheaton College student is usinga $28,000 scholarship to study scavenging around the world.<p></p>

Digging for trash and paying for it? Most people would turn up their nose at the idea. Not Kelly Maby. The Wheaton College student is using a $28,000 scholarship to study scavenging around the world.

Maby is no newcomer to scavenging.

“When I was around 8 years old, my family wasn’t doing so well, so my brother and I collected beer cans and bottles,” the Queens, N.Y., native said. “We actually thought it was fun.”

It was so much fun that Maby will spend her scholarship studying scavenging — also known as waste-picking — in Egypt, Brazil, Guatemala and Ecuador.

According to a new report out of the United Nations University, at least 15 million people earn their living as waste-pickers.

“This is a huge informal economy,” Maby said.

The global impact of scavenging is estimated at several billion dollars.

 
 
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