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Re: [greenyes] scavenging
The revenue loss from scavenging is a very minor factor in our scavenging 
problem in Long Beach.  The problem is that people go through our alleys 
and down our streets rifling through recycling bins, making noise, 
disturbing residents, etc.  Often the scavengers will dump the contents of 
the bin, take what they want, and leave the rest on the ground.  Then when 
the recycling truck comes by, the driver doesn't want to stop and scoop 
everything up, to say nothing of all the material that has blown away.  I 
was just speaking with a resident who was calling about scavenging, and 
she said "if the guy is so comfortable going through my recycling bin and 
taking what he wants, maybe he'll be just as comfortable taking something 
off my porch or going in my back yard."  Regardless of whether or not 
scavenging leads to other kinds of theft, the last thing I want is for 
residents to feel they are endangering themselves by setting out their 
recycling.  If it was just a matter of the City losing a bit of revenue, 
then the cost-benefit analysis of police response might work out so that 
it really didn't make sense for the police to address scavenging.  But the 
issue is really disturbing the peace, littering, and people feeling safe 
in their homes -- issues that I think the police should be more concerned 
about than they sometimes appear to be.

Sharon Gates
Recycling Specialist
City of Long Beach, California

"Wayne Turner" <WAYNET@no.address>
07/03/2003 04:41 AM

        To:     <greenyes@no.address>, <Sharon_Gates@no.address>
        Subject:        Re: [greenyes] scavenging

Sharon, et al.,

Scavenging rises and falls with the markets for materials.  When OCC
prices go south, the pickup trucks scavenging OCC disappear only to
reappear magically overnight when prices rebound.  Likewise, UBC prices
dictate how zealous the scavengers are.  Since UBC prices are relatively
steady, the scavenging is too.  The most aggravating thing about the
scavenging is that it leaves the dregs for the municipality to collect
and drives our cost per ton up.  It's a real catch 22.  I guess I should
be thankful that the material is being collected and sold on the open
market and not subsidized by the city but we can't make instantaneous
changes to our fleets and staffs to accommodate these sudden


(snip, snip)

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