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Recycling theft: PA enforcement policy?

Original post made by Pillaged Recycler, Ventura, on Apr 18, 2007


Today is garbage/recycling day in my neighborhood.

I used to see the occasional recycling thief out and about early in the morning. Today I saw two active on my street at the same time and a third came by later. Two of them were using van-sized vehicles. And I wasn't specifically "on the lookout", so there could have been more.

This concerns me for two reasons:

(1) The city recycling program is being shorted revenues fromthe materials being put out. I assume this causes an increase in collection fees.

(2) People become used to random folks pawing through recycling/garbage materials, allowing identity theft perpetrators free rein without causing alarm.

Is this illegal? Does PA have an enforcement policy with
regards to this activity? Who do I call? Is this as rampant in other neighborhoods?

PR



Comments (20)

 +   Like this comment
Posted by RS
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Apr 18, 2007 at 1:55 pm

Last I knew, it was illegal to remove recycling from the curb side cans that residents put out for recycling. You could verify that with the PD and then candidly ask them if they would respond if you called the next time you see it taking place. It maybe too low on their list to get attention.

I recall reading once that the reason it was illegal is the income from the profitable recycling items subsidize the program.

I dont know if all this is still true, I think I read it back when they gave us those milk crate like bins to recycle with.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by eric
a resident of Mountain View
on Apr 19, 2007 at 9:20 am

Im sure that your concern has everything to do with the financial health of the recycling program and nothing to do with "undersirables" in your neighborhood.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by RS
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Apr 19, 2007 at 11:09 am

If "undersirables" == thieves, then yes, I dont want them in my neighborhood. Do you?


 +   Like this comment
Posted by eric
a resident of Mountain View
on Apr 19, 2007 at 2:04 pm

Thieves. Stealing the....stuff you threw out....


 +   Like this comment
Posted by RS
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Apr 19, 2007 at 3:11 pm

Well it was not me that they took from, but lets say it was, I would respond...

I did not throw it out, I put it out for collection. I want the city to get the revenue, not him.

btw, it is illegal in mountain view too. This is a pretty typical city ordinance. Here is an MV reference for your convenience

Web Link


 +   Like this comment
Posted by eric
a resident of Mountain View
on Apr 19, 2007 at 4:12 pm

Im well aware that its illegal in MV, and I have personally experienced the "horror" of having my empty Cab bottles pilfered. We had an elderly gent in my neighborhood a few years back who would collect a couple of grocery bags of bottles every other Thursday morning. Id guess he needed the cash to buy a bit of food. I spoke to him once, asking him to be aware of the noise he made and that some people might still be sleeping. He was quite courteous.

But Im sure that the city needed the $4 more then he did...


 +   Like this comment
Posted by RS
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Apr 19, 2007 at 5:31 pm

There is a big difference between that scenerio and the one originally described. In your scenerio, I would have set them aside for him, so he did not have to wait for trash day to steal them.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by PAMC
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Apr 19, 2007 at 9:15 pm

Once you put recyclables out on the street they belong to PASCO (per PAMC 5.20.090).


Palo Alto Municipal Code 5.20.090 Collection and ownership of recyclable materials - Residential premises.
(a)The city shall provide a program for the collection of recyclable materials from residential premises. For the purposes of this section, recyclable materials includes yard trimmings and any other similar materials designated by the director.
(b)Recyclable materials placed for curbside residential recycling collection shall become the property of the collector at the time of placement at the curb or other designated location for collection. The collector shall have the exclusive right to collect such recyclable materials.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by eric
a resident of Mountain View
on Apr 19, 2007 at 9:51 pm

and the difference is....?


 +   Like this comment
Posted by resident
a resident of Barron Park
on Apr 19, 2007 at 11:02 pm

PR
A few years ago we were asked by a nonresident "recycling collector" if it was OK for him to go through our bins on trash day and take our bottles/cans on a regular basis. We said "no" because I did not want a stranger hanging around my home at night. I know some people in the area do permit him to take their recycling. He appears to be in his 60's and rides a bike to collect items, usually collects late at night. Once, maybe a year ago, we saw the more organized Van/Car "thieves", but did not have time to call any authority. They were looking through the recycling but I am not sure what they took. I care most about personal safety issues regarding people who are bold enough to linger near my private property late at night. I can just imagine how I would feel if I arrived home late and saw a stranger loitering near my home. I did call the recycling company and they said to call the nonemergency police number if the recycling thieves are observed. It is some sort of crime. We are in Barron Park, just across El Camino from you in Ventura.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by What a world !!!
a resident of Community Center
on Apr 20, 2007 at 9:15 am

I feel extremely sorry for such people. They need the money more than anyone else. It is probably the most efficient way to distribute money to the needy.

And one need not worry... they will recycle it. that's how they will get some money out of it.

:.-(


 +   Like this comment
Posted by RS
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Apr 20, 2007 at 12:04 pm

I dont assume that everyone that does it is just trying to survive.

I know of one young college woman that is raiding recycling bins to save money for a trip to Europe.

People with a truck going house to house could make a nice tax free income, do the math.




 +   Like this comment
Posted by mike
a resident of Mountain View
on Apr 20, 2007 at 2:00 pm

[Post removed by Palo Alto Online staff.]


 +   Like this comment
Posted by RS
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Apr 20, 2007 at 3:14 pm

[Post removed by Palo Alto Online staff.]




 +   Like this comment
Posted by Rick
a resident of College Terrace
on Apr 20, 2007 at 4:09 pm

Most of the 'thieves' are homeless. To them, the money from the cans might mean having enough money for a night in a cheap hotel where they can clean up and take a brief break from the street. The cans they 'steal' still get recycled. The same 'law&order' people who so object to those poor souls 'stealing' their cans, usually have no problem when their own gardeners use deafening gasoline leaf-blowers, against the law.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by RS
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Apr 20, 2007 at 5:35 pm

Rick,

You are reading a lot into my posts that is not present. If a homeless person comes by my house and wants them, I'll fish them out of the bin for him/her, no questions asked.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Thief
a resident of Adobe-Meadows
on Apr 20, 2007 at 5:48 pm

Interesting question.

If you set your bin outside and fish stuff out yourself, are you a thief.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by RS
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Apr 20, 2007 at 6:01 pm

Its ok, I bribe elected officials on a regular basis, I'm sure they would work the system for me. ;^)


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Parent
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Apr 20, 2007 at 6:06 pm

OK OK Ok

Now I know. I constantly have to fish things out of my recycling can often when it has been put on the kerb. My kids always accuse me of recycling their homework and other important school papers they leave around the house. Maybe I should turn them into thieves and get them to look around the can themselves. Or maybe, the idea that they might be thieving will prevent them from leaving important stuff around the house!!


 +   Like this comment
Posted by RS
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Apr 20, 2007 at 6:14 pm

I dont think you want to run the risk of your kids going to the big house for recycling theft. I hear recycling theives are pretty low on the food chain. But if they get sent up, make sure they stay away from the leaf blower gangsters. Really tough crowd.


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