Posted by: greencrusader
July 16, 2012
When you put out your recyclables, is it ok for an unauthorized person to pick it up?
Do you give your recyclables to scavengers when they come begging, or do you put them off?
Recyclables transported on bicycles, captured by Gothamist.com
Recyclables transported by pickup trucks, reported by SF Chronicle
While millions of you worry about your job, family, future and security, some cities and their waste collection contractors have very different worries – recycling theft, or scavenging, or what I called “Green Burglary”.
After the introduction of container- deposit legislation, recyclables have become a gold mine for unauthorized recycle collectors in some cities across North America. Container-deposit legislation requires collection of a monetary deposit on soft-drink, juice, milk, water, and alcoholic-beverage at the point of sale.
Residential neighborhoods have become targets for recyclables by “Green Burglars” when placed beside the house or at curb side. Once the recyclables are placed in a recycle container provided by a designated recycle collector, the contents becomes the property of the designated recycle collector. If the recyclables are on private property, the recyclables are the property of the households. If the recyclables are taken by unauthorized persons it constitutes theft, scavenging, or recycling theft or “Green Burglary”.
Scavenging in San Francisco, California, USA
In March, San Francisco Examiner reported that hundreds of people drive around San Francisco, stealing cardboard, bottles and other recyclables. For Recology, the company hired by The City of San Francisco to pick up garbage and recycling, it also means the loss of up to $5 million in revenue annually, which otherwise could be used to help pay for the recycling service. The paper went on to add that the city seems trapped in a philosophical battle with itself over whether to crack down on the thieves or look the other way because recycling is how some of the City’s poorest residents, including the homeless, make a living.
San Francisco Weekly reported on March 30, that it is almost impossible to control the scavenging situation in San Francisco. “It’s like Whac-a-Mole. You knock down one, and another one pops up,” the paper added. Many times, the poachers are back at it the next day and as one recycler who was busted twice last year in the operation tells the paper, “You’ve gotta eat.”
Scavenging in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada
Alberta Beverage Container Management Board says 82% of the two billion beverage containers sold yearly in Alberta are returned to bottle depots for recycling, while millions still end up in landfills.
From my telephone chat with Connie Boyce, Director of Waste Management, Edmonton, Alberta capital City, and Edmonton City Police, there have been some reports of people ripping blue recycling bags to cash in on recyclables in residential areas but this people are not organized in groups with pickup trucks. “Just take your bottles and cans and cash in at bottle depots dotted across the City,” the manager added.
Scavenging legislation in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada
The City of Edmonton Bylaw 13777, Waste Management Bylaw, Section 45, states “No person other than an authorized waste collector or the person placing the waste shall interfere with, disturb, or remove the contents of a waste container or waste bin set out for collection.” Violation of this bylaw is punishable with a fine of $250.00, $500.00, and $1000.00 for first, second and third offence respectively.
Section 46 states, “All waste, including household refuse, and recyclables, and commercial waste set out for collection by the City remains the property of the person placing the waste until accepted by the City at the time of collection.”