Recycling Poaching in NYC
For most people navigating the sidewalks of New York, the corrugated-cardboard bundles that stores put out for recycling are either an obstacle or nothing at all – invisible stitches in the city’s zippy visual drapery.
But for a subset of underground scavengers, they represent a drool-inducing resource, something to be urgently carried away to a recycling plant in exchange for cash money.
“Cardboard poaching,” as it’s become known, is a multimillion-dollar cancer growing in the diseased corpus of recycling crime. Though the media have lately honed in on scrap-metals theft and restaurant-grease rustling, the stealing of cardboard still hovers below most people’s awareness level. That might change soon as the bandits become even more brazen and as recyclers bear down on the papery perps who propagate this unusual black market.
The price of cardboard is fairly good right now, at around $100 a ton. That means crooks are scouring the sidewalks for anything boxy. But this isn’t like copper salvaging, in which an individual thief can rip some wire from an abandoned building and quickly swap it in for cash. No matter how buff you are, you can’t just push a ton of cardboard down the block to the recycling facility.
Source = theatlantic