11/13/2012 03:55 pm ET

On The Streets With NYC's Can Collectors

Paula, a 72-year-old Dominican woman pushing a blue collapsible shopping cart, turns the corner onto Moore Street in Bushwick. She takes in Roberta's, the popular pizzeria and restaurant where Brooklynites are known to wait upward of two hours for pine-nut-and-Brussels-sprout-topped pies. It's the Saturday before Halloween, and just outside two young women are selling pumpkins; in Roberta's garden, two guys are carving them. Paula turns to the restaurant's trash bins. She sifts through the garbage bags inside, but finds nothing.

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