Recycle Raiders

Thursday, September 10, 2009
Today, Lincoln, Wembley and I were sitting in the front room of our house just watching for squirrels, birds, or cats (we do this A LOT.  Lincoln can't get enough of watching out the window.  Wembley practically lives in front of the window.  I'm just along for the company.).  As we sat there, I noticed a truck driving slowly down the street.  This is pretty noticeable, since we live in a small cul-de-sac of only 10 homes.  Then, the truck pulled up in front of my neighbors house and started rifling through their recycling bin, pulled out something that looked like a computer cable, and tossed it into the back of their truck.  As the truck passed our house, I noticed the back was FULL of junk--bed frames, wire shelves, chairs, cords....I watched the truck circle our street, stopping at some homes, driving by others (apparently, our recycling bin full of cracker boxes and soda cans didn't warrant a rifling...).  Hmmm, I thought.  That was interesting.  Never seen that before.  Then we went about our morning.  About an hour later, we were walking through the front room again and I hear the rumble of a truck.  Looking out the window, I see ANOTHER truck slowly cruising down our cul-de-sac.  This one pulls up to a house near the end of the street, parks, and approaches a patio chair this neighbor had put out for trash pick up (it was obvious their dog had eaten a sizable chunk of the cushion for a snack...).  This guy approaches the chair with a huge pair of wire cutters and proceeds to hack it into pieces, then throw it into his truck.  WHAT IS GOING ON?  So, of course I have to research this strange phenomenon and discover there is actually such a thing as "recycling thieves."  These are organized groups who drive around locating neighborhoods with lots of recyclables.  They canvas this neighborhoods on recycling day, take the big stuff, then turn it in for profit.  At first, I didn't really see a problem with that.  But after reading some, I realized that the thieves are actually taking away the money the city would normally receive from recycling these items.  Money they use to fund the recycling programs.  Here is an article, if you're interested.  Have any of you ever seen people doing this?  What would you do about it?


  1. You know in our neighborhood that there are trucks that roam the area the evening before trash pickup. They take all kinds of items-some to sell for profit, occasionally they find an item to keep. It has now gotten to where we put things out and wonder how long it will be before it is gone. I feel that once it is put out at the street it is fair game.

  2. I have seen them before and never thought much about it. I always thought if they want my trash they are welcome to it. But now that I know that the town makes money off recycling those items to fund the program I find it frustrating. Though I am not sure I know what I would do luckily for me I remember it is time to put things out when I all of a sudden here the truck pulling down the street.

  3. I think reusing is better for the environment than recycling so I tend to think, "go right ahead!" but i also think we should each do what our conscience tells us.


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