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[GreenYes] Re: Theft from recycling containers


Hi Blair,
 
I think the impact of this will vary based on the specifics of the locality.  MA is a bottle bill state, and for some reason the recycling programs have not been able to get the deposit value of the containers, but rather only the scrap value.  The deposit makes cans and bottles attractive for people to pull from the containers.
 
In many of the towns in this area, however, we pay a lower tip fee on commingled recycling, but the fee is still substantially above zero.    Thus, if materials art taken out of the bins prior to pickup, the cost to the town actually declines since there is no cost at all to the culled tonnage. 
 
Not every town would be the same.  If the MRF pays a more precise amount for what is delivered in the trucks coming from a particular town, theft could be a negative.  Similarly, pulling high value materials from drop-off centers from which the towns directly earn revenue would also be a problem.  However, you may find that disappearance from curbside containers may not be that big of a deal in other places as well.
 
Doug Koplow
 
_______________________________
Doug Koplow
Earth Track, Inc.
2067 Massachusetts Avenue - 4th Floor
Cambridge, MA  02140
www.earthtrack.net
Tel:  617/661-4700
Fax: 617/354-0463

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>>> "Blair Pollock" <bpollock@no.address> 9/7/2007 10:54 AM >>>
This topic comes up periodically and now w/ metal prices high, it's here again in our community. We and citizens are seeing (literally) theft from curbside bins, apartment and commercial rescycling carts and both our staffed and unstaffed dropoff sites (staffed site theft is accompanied by verbal threats, etc) (As I write this I have a recollection of the late Black Panther founder Eldridge Cleaver being caught taking cans out of curbside containers in Berkeley years ago -- points to anyone who can cite this incident)
 
We have consulted with one of the four local law enforcement agencies in our community and they in turn w/ local the DA's office and they conclude that this theft is a criminal acts that can be prosecuted now with no changes to any County ordinance,etc. . We have labeled all our containers at ten dropoff sites with custom labels that indicate the materials are property of Orange County and not to be removed by unauthorized persons. We have NOT labelled all the 30,000 curbside bins or 3,000 roll carts though the bins & carts THEMSELVES are stamped "property of Orange County"
 
I  have several questions for the GROUP that some of you may have had experience with.
Has anyone successfully prosecuted recycling bin theft and how did that go? was it felony , misdeameanor, trespass, etc?
Where was the theft? from curbside bins, apartment carts, commercial sites (we collect their cans in carts separated from bottles, papers, etc) or dropoff sites?
Does the site owner or manager have to be involved in the prosecution? Our police preliminary opinion was that they do although the carts and contents are public property the site is located on private property so..........?
Can an apartment complex tenant call the observed theft in to police or does it have to be owner/manager?
Was the collection contractor involved in any prosecutions> our private urban curbside program contractor 'owns' the materials in the bin once they're set at the curb, but our contract indicates the County is obliged to help deter theft.
Does your CIty or County have a specific ordinance relating to prosecution for theft from any of these containers?
Thanks for your help all.
 
Blair Pollock
Solid Waste Planner
Orange County Solid Waste Management Department
P.O. Box 17177
Chapel Hill, NC 27516-7177
(919) 968-2788 or direct: (919) 968-2800 x161
(919) 932-2900 fax
Please take our brief phone book preference survey as part of a national study:  http://www.co.orange.nc.us/recycling/docs/Phonebook Survey.doc


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