At Active Recycling in Los Angeles, cardboard and newspapers are worth between $85 and $120 a ton.
"Some people, they make $700 a week or $800 a week. It depends if they want to work an hour or if they want to work six or eight hours a day," said Errol Segal at Active Recycling.
And with unemployment so high, business at the recycling center has gone up.
An additional 292,673 Californians filed for regular unemployment benefits during the week ending July 18, bringing the total number of filings since the pandemic to nearly 6.8 million, about 35% of the workforce, according to data released Thursday by the U.S. Department of Labor.
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An additional 1.8 million people have filed for Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation, or PEUC, and 1.4 million have filed for Pandemic Unemployment Assistance, or PUA. Fortunately, the actual preliminary unemployment rate for June was 14.9%, down from 16.4% in May.
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"In the last recession, for example, the Great Recession I think at the worst we had 2.2 million unemployed so that gives you a sense of just how large the situation is," said the California Employment Development Department's Loree Levy.
For trash business owner, Justin Pool, the recycling program has helped make ends meet.
"It's been ups and downs but it's been all right you know," Pool said.
"It's helping me out."
Grace Manthey contributed to this story