Mar 29, 2007

On Recyclables and Opportunism

Left: unidentified entrepreneur raiding the county recycling bins

(Toledo, OH) I originally thought I would post a short missive on the importance of recycling; I planned to take a few photos of Lucas County recycling bins at the Secor/Monroe Kroger location.

A rustling in one of the dumpsters, however, confirmed that the West Toledo Recyclable Bandit was hard at work.

I have seen him in and around the bins several times; I am not sure if he is collecting metal containers for scrap metal, or if he is driving across the border into Michigan to redeem containers for the $.05 and $.10 deposit (Ohio is not a deposit state).

Left: A sampling of the income potential in county bins

As a person who generally adheres to the principle of "live and let live," it does not cause me much chagrin to see this man gleaning a few dollars from the refuse of other people.

That being said, this represents some income loss for the county, and ostensibly my taxes underwrite this man's extra-legal behavior.

What do you think? Should people like the Recycling Bandit be viewed as criminals, entrepreneurs, or in a larger sense, evidence that there is an underground economy fueled by people who struggle to succeed in mainstream America?

A discussion on Toledo Talk prompted the rerun of this post.


Anonymous said...

Priceless pic!

SensorG said...

I wouldn't be too happy if I was a Michigan tax payer either...

Hooda Thunkit said...

Fricking Blogger ate my extremely eloquent answer:-(


To recap, Anything dropped into the recycling bin become the property of the County, that's the law.

In essence, the "entrepreneur" is stealing twice; first from the County and secondly from those who take the time and effort to do the right thing and recycle.

Given the backlog of calls for police service and the backlog of cases in the courts, I'm pretty comfortable in guessing that the chances of this "perp" being busted and prosecuted are approximately zero.

If his illicit activities bothered the County, the bins would be outfitted to make dumpster diving difficult; if it bothered me, I'd smash and collect the cans and take them to the recycling center myself and cash them in.

I hear that "can" aluminum is worth two dollars plus per pound so it would definitely be worth it to me.

Copper and lead are also worth recycling; that's why I have a bucket full of copper plumbing scraps right now ;-)

Just think if your "entrepreneur" buddy went through a parking lot lifting the balance weights off of everybody's car wheels.

The Screaming Nutcase said...

I dunno about anyone else, but I'd rather people raid the stuff I've already thrown away, as opposed to the people who steal stuff like fire connections (which happened to a few big-box stores a few months back).

Peahippo said...

There are things which are illegal but their wide applicability should be viewed with vast suspicion and held under significant restraint by the police and public at large. Some guy going through county dumpsters looking for sale-able material, fits into this category. By the time you're surfing dumpsters for metals, you're hardly in the position to make your own bail, now, are you?

I cannot deny that such dumpster diving is illegal. I cannot deny you, the taxpayer, the right to see that such diving is prosecuted. BUT ... all I'm saying is that it's really a victimless crime despite the loss of income to the county. Guys like that are just going to be welfare cases, anyway, so who's to say the county's loss is not actually a loss if such people are lifted off their welfare rolls?

I respectfully suggest that we spend the quality time of law enforcement by going after real criminals, like the ones that raided the OI construction site in Perrysburg to make off with thousands of dollars in copper pipe.

Anonymous said...

Don't you have bigger things to worry about?