The Zaballeen are constantly investing in their tools and upgrading their methods, and have provided their services at no cost to residents or the city. They derive their income from reusing and reselling the materials they gather. The BBC’s Sylvia Smith describes the Zaballeen system as “not a trail of chaos – but of professionalism, ingenuity and imagination, crystallizing into an industry as efficient as it is unknown.”
Now that Mubarak has resigned, it is likely that the pigeons and tourists will again soon peacefully return to Tahrir Square. The next task at hand, of course, will be cleaning up after the throngs, which for the Zaballeenmeans business will be good.
Overall, 243 million tons of MSW was generated in the United States in 2009—eight million tons less than that of 2008. MSW generation in 2009 declined to 4.34 pounds per person per day. This is a decrease of 4 percent from 2008. Nevertheless, the percentage of this material that ended up in landfills remained about the same at 54.3% (the 2008 figure was 54%)
An estimated 12.7 million tons of textiles were generated in 2009 or 5.2 percent of total MSW generation. Generation of clothing and footwear was estimated to be 9.1 million tons (3.7 percent of total MSW). The recovery rate for all textiles was 14.9 percent in 2009 (1.9 million tons), which is approximately the same rate as previous years. The EPA report also cites the Council for Textile Recycling, which reports that 1.3 million tons of clothing were recovered for recycling in 2009, or about 14 percent.