Monday July 21, 2008
There’s a type of thievery going on in Napa that many residents and business people ignore – a type of organized crime that has the potential to increase costs for all of us. It’s the theft of recyclable materials, and it’s happening every week right under our noses.
Recyclable materials at your workplace or home belong to you. You may choose to take your cans and bottles to a recycling buyback center and be paid for their California Redemption Value (CRV) or you may choose to put your recyclables in a commercial-sized recycling bin or blue cart from Napa Recycling & Waste Services (NRWS) and leave it for pickup. Once those materials are in the bin or blue cart, only you or NRWS have the right to remove them.
The City of Napa estimates thieves may be making off with as much as a half-million dollars a year worth of recyclable materials. Like any criminal, these people target the most valuable products – in the case of recyclables that means aluminum and glass. And we’re not talking about a few people occasionally taking a few cans here or there. We’re talking about organized thieves with trucks, driving the City’s collection routes a few hours ahead of the authorized crews from NRWS. They’re stealing the most valuable materials and selling them at recycling centers. These people are stealing from NRWS, the City, and ultimately from you.
How does this cost you money? NRWS processes and sells the recyclable materials, and the City gets 70¢ of every dollar from those sales. The City counts on revenues from the sale of recyclables to help pay for the cost of its solid waste management programs. Over time, the lost revenues may mean higher rates for collection of recycling and garbage.
Don’t look the other way. Theft of recyclables is not acceptable. If we don’t stop it we’ll all pay.