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"Since goldrush days, San Francisco has been a magnet for those on the make. But the latest moneymakers aren't interested in striking gold, they're in search of cans and bottles. The city's efforts to boost recycling rates have been so successful that the value of rubbish has spiralled, leading to battles between official, unofficial and downright criminal garbage collectors.
"San Francisco now recycles 78% of it's [sic] trash: paper, bottles, cans, plastics and even food gets recycled or composted. This is partly due to the California Bottle Bill of 1987 that introduced legislation to ensure a deposit was repaid on bottles and cans that were sold in the state. The amount recyclers get depends on the package they return."