Question Time!


N. P. R.. Everyone Stacey in Cardiff here is indicated from planet money and today's episode is garbage guarded. Wait No, hang on a second. That's not where. You have to there. You're supposed to pretend like you don't know it's garbage. Misread conclusions. Yeah, no, it says here. This episode is actually about garbage partly, so it's a key phrase there about garbage. Yes, it is and part of the reason for that is that one of our wonderful listeners asked us about garbage? That is right. It is time for another episode where we answer your questions. Yeah, and let's get right to it. Here is the garbage question from Listener Michaela in West Virginia, I have a trashy question. Now that we're all staying at home working from home, eating at home more. How is this affecting the distribution of waste and how our waste management companies handling it I? Love this question. Michaela! I've actually been thinking about this a lot, because not only are a lot more people at home throughout the day, but also a lot of restaurants and bars are still closed, so people are eating at home a lot more as well, and all of that means that people are now throwing out a lot more trash at home in their residential neighborhoods. Yeah, and just how much more trash is being thrown out of homes because of krona virus kind of depends on where you live but to. To Take Philadelphia's and example, the volume of residential trash during March April of this year was about twenty five percent higher than it was. During March and April of last year and estimates for other parts of the country have varied, they range from five percent higher all the way to forty percent higher, but whatever the case it's a lot trash from households is usually collected either by local sanitation departments, or by privately run waste management companies, and those guys are just in demand like crazy right now. They're really overwhelmed even to the point where other services like recycling pickup and street cleaning have been cut back in some places, because there is just so much trash pickup from homes. Yeah in the trend goes in exactly the opposite direction for trash that gets collected from commercial buildings from offices that is way down and these waste management companies that handle commercial trash are struggling just like other parts of the economy demand for their services has fallen because so many of their customers have closed their doors. Some of these waste management companies have even furloughed workers, and they are running fewer routes, but Cardiff I have a question about our garbage question, which is this yet? WHAT ABOUT OVERALL GARBAGE? If you combine the waste from residential homes and businesses is our overall trash upper down. I would assume. Assume that it would be down because so many businesses are closed But what is the verdict on over? Always? Yeah, that's definitely possible. I gotta be honest. I looked all over the place for a nationwide estimate of just overall trash accumulation trash volumes since corona virus started I could not find. One might not exist just yet, but if any of our listeners have seen such an estimate, then by all means feel free to send it to us at indicator at NPR dot org, and there is a little side note on our garbage story by the way a workers who collect trash there about one. Twenty thousand of them throughout the country, they are not just categorized as essential workers workers who have kept doing their jobs throughout the pandemic. This is also really dangerous work, so we wanted to give them a little shoutout. Little Shoutout, yeah! According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the share of people who die on the job while collecting trash or recyclable material is the fifth highest share of any occupation in the country and the most common reason for this vehicle accidents, but the work itself is also physically taxing workers potentially. Potentially expose themselves to chemicals and toxins every single day, and now of course krona virus has added a new element of danger to trash collection. Because the trash they're picking up could have been handled by someone who has covid nineteen, so a lot of the workers have to take these extra precautions like wearing an extra pair of gloves or having their trucks disinfected things like that and thanks for that question Michaela, we really appreciate it, and after a quick break station, I will take two more listener questions about different topics. Support for NPR and the following message come from Zen desk, making customer support software designed for speed and agility, now offering a six month complimentary remote support bundle that comes with everything you need to stay connected with your customers. Go Zen desk dot com slash indicator. Okay next listener question comes from rob in Brooklyn New York on Social Media I've been seen a great push. Encouraging people to support black businesses I found out that there's an index fund that is specifically composed of minority owned businesses. How does a fund of minority owned businesses work? Most importantly could investing in a fund like this actually be a way to support black companies. Thanks for that rob and yeah, there are two parts to this question one is. How does this fund work and then second? Is it a good way to invest in black owned businesses, so we'll take those questions in order so I. The fund that Rob is referring to is called the impact shares nwpp minority empowerment fund, but we'll just refer to it here as the fund. That's the only fund we're talking about the fund and here's how the fund works. The Fund says that it will invest in companies that have quote, strong, racial and ethnic diversity policies in place and quote. But, of course I, it has to identify those companies, so the fund worked with the N. W. C. P.. The civil rights organization to come up with a list of criteria that could be used to judge whether a company has a good diversity policy in place in those criteria can include things like the quality of companies, anti-discrimination policies or its efforts to diversify its own workforce, its employees and there are ten criteria in all, and if a company scores high enough on these criteria, then it gets placed into an index. The fund does. Is it invest a little money in all the companies that make it into? Into the index and it this by purchasing shares of those companies in stock market, which means that if you invest in the fund itself, which is what rob is asking about. You're buying shares of fund that itself own shares of a bunch of other companies. It's kind of like a sampler platter of stocks, and as for which companies to fund is invested in. They are mostly big companies big enough to trade on the stock market, so for example the companies that the fund has the most money invested in our Amazon, Microsoft and Apple, but rob about investing directly in black owned businesses, and that is just. Different, from what this actually does, which is to put money into companies that meet certain criteria for policies on racial and ethnic diversity? Yeah, that's right, and so basically we looked around and there just seems to be no shortcut that we could find for investing directly in black owned businesses, most of which are not these huge companies that trade on the Stock Exchange so you have to. To try to find those businesses and weigh the risks of investing in them about the possible rewards, just like other investments but all that said there are some very useful lists online directories that can help discover black owned businesses. These are on sites like a block Wall Street DOT COM and we'll post them. Other links in today's show notes at NPR DOT Org. Slash money. Our final question comes from Kathy in Florida. The unemployment rate doesn't measure how much the GIG economy contracts is their way to measure that so cathy. The short answer is no. We do not know exactly how much the GIG economy has either grown or contracted because of corona virus mainly because the GIG economy, itself is really hard to measure yet. Most people think of Gig work as uber drivers or someone who delivers you groceries that you ordered on Insta- card. Card, the APP or the handyman that you found on task. Grab it big GIG. Work can actually be any kind of work that people do that is not done as part of formal employment for business. It can be someone who makes homemade baskets and sells them. Online is a hobby or can be graphic designers who freelance by making web pages as their main job, though we should note that only about one out of five people who do Gig work in. In the US, do it as their main source of income, but the point is that some of the GIG economy could be seeing more demand like food delivery drivers while other parts are seeing less demand, just because overall economic activity has fallen so much. Here is what we do know now roughly fourteen million gig workers are claiming unemployment insurance benefits because their work has been affected by corona virus in some way in fact more than two out of every five. Five people who are now claiming unemployment benefits are gig workers. Now that so many other people have lost their jobs non gig workers, a lot of these newly unemployed workers are themselves trying to Gig work to make a little money, and this means that people who were doing gig work before the pandemic started now have more competition, so he might not get paid as much as they were getting paid before. A lot of gay workers just really are struggling. Thank you Michaela and Cathy for your questions, and of course. If you have a question for us, we would love to hear it. You can email us a voice memo that is indicator at NPR. Dot Org and we might address it in a future episode. This episode of the indicator was produced by Camille, Peterson fact checked by Britney Cronin. The indicator is edited by Paddy Hirsch and is a production of NPR.

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