Crew members of the Recology sorting facility in Humboldt County, California made an unusual discovery this week. They found an old shoebox with more than US$ 20 000 inside.
It turns out the money came from a man living all the way in Oregon. He accidentally threw out the wrong box, only realising hours later that it contained his life savings of US$23 000. By then, the waste management truck had already emptied the container.
He desperately called the local Recology recycling centre to ask whether any cash had turned up. As his luck would have it, the truck was en-route to Recology’s sorting centre in the neighbouring state. Yet somehow most of the dollar bills stayed in the shoebox during the 200-mile trip.
Brian Sollum, operations manager at the California site, got a call about the missing money and told his crew to look out for a Vans shoe box. They located the lost treasure – that only had US$ 320 missing. The money was returned to the owner yesterday.
Sollum notes that this is a rare incident as valuable objects and money regularly get discarded with the trash. A small portion is ever recovered.
The US currently boasts a 65% recycling rate for paper and paperboard. This represents almost 68 million tonnes of material recycled per year.
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