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Recyclables Pirates: How do you feel about them?

Original post made by The Eye, Old Mountain View, on Jul 3, 2010

This is a topic that certainly falls into the category of a two-sided coin. On the one side, with the economy being what it is, one can easily understand and empathize with those trying to earn a little extra money to put food on the table, by going through our city-provided bins left out on the street on collection day.

We figure, "Hey, instead of going who-knows-where to some city-designated central recycling center, they will go to help a family out in hard times, and the recyclables will still end up in a recycling center somewhere in doing so, right?"

On the other side of the coin, there is the fact that once those recyclables are left out in those bins on the street, they are no longer legally our property to give, as they have become the property of the city, to use the funds gathered for the city's needs (and with a cash-strapped municipal economy so bad that our police force has volunteered to forgo pay raises this year, the city desperately needs it).

So technically, a person going through your recyclables bins after you've left them out chock full on the street is theft from the city, but certainly considered by the police to be a minor crime at best.

How do you feel, fellow citizens of Mountain View, about this? Is it really necessary to even report such a crime? It just seems that, legal or not, when you see someone collecting from your bins, you *know* that it's going to feed a family, but when the huge rumbling trucks come along one morning, with their massive metallic claws seizing the bins and emptying them to arrive at an unknown recycling destination, we cannot see the result of where someone was helped or not.

Story written by The Eye (Jordan A. Moller),
The Old Mountain View Neighborhood

Comments (3)

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Posted by The Eye
a resident of Old Mountain View
on Jul 4, 2010 at 3:02 pm

The Eye is a registered user.

An additional note of possible interest: The gentleman in the photo I took for this story is depicted at the moment when he'd just finished perusing the recyclables bin (blue and gray), and has begun perusing the contents of the trash bin (black) for that apartment complex, which some might consider "dumpster diving", with a risk of identity theft involved.


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Posted by Mike Laursen
a resident of Monta Loma
on Jul 5, 2010 at 7:02 am

Mike Laursen is a registered user.

This just came up in the Monta Loma neighborhood, too. Perhaps because the same rummagers are sweeping through our neighborhood.

I asked a former city councilman about it (sorry, haven't gotten permission to use his name here) and discovered that, a couple of years ago when he enquired with Foothill Disposal (now called Recology?) about it, they told him they took a net loss on recycling. He said that If they only recycled aluminum cans they might break even, but the other recyclables are not profitable.


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Posted by The Eye
a resident of Old Mountain View
on Jul 5, 2010 at 8:42 am

The Eye is a registered user.

Interesting. After a bit more research into Recology, a private, wholly employee-owned corporation, I found that it seems there are no proceeds from what they do being funneled back into the cities that have contracted them. It changes the whole scheme of things, in my point of view. But when I see a rummager collecting, one can see that it will go to personal use, for their family and so forth. If the trend continues, however, I can't help but wonder how long it might be before you start seeing competing rummagers in the same regions, and what drama *that* might entail?


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