The junkyard economist Image

The junkyard economist

24 May - 25 mins
Podcast Series Planet Money

On today's episode, we ride through the streets of San Francisco with a long-time junkman, Jon Rolston.

Jon has spent the last two decades clearing out houses and offices of their junk. He's found all sorts of items: a life-time supply of toilet paper, gold rings, $20,000 in cash. Over the years, he's developed a keen eye for what has value and what might sell. He's become a kind of trash savant.

As we ride with Jon, he shows us the whole ecosystem of how our reusable trash gets dealt with — from metals (ferrous and non-ferrous) to tires to cardboard. And we see how our junk can sometimes get a second chance at life.

If you can understand the junk market like Jon, you can understand do...

25 mins

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