Concord is starting to crack down on dumpster diving, after residents complained their trash was being stolen.
For the past several months, code enforcement
officer Isidro Llanos has been working with the Concord Police Department and
Concord Disposal Services to stop people from stealing recyclable materials out
of the trash bins. He said
most of the people plaguing Concord neighborhoods are not locals.
“Many illegal recyclers come to Concord from other cities,” Llanos said. “One man contacted a few weeks ago admitted that he rides the bus to Concord from Pittsburg, fills his bags with aluminum cans and plastic bottles, then cashes in at the local recycling center before riding the bus back home,” he added.
Police say the trash thieves are organized and designate territories to avoid confrontations.
"They use different colored plastic bags to identify whose illegal haul belongs to whom," said Concord Code Enforcement Corporal Patrick Murray in a statement released on Tuesday. "Profits range from a couple hundred to a couple thousand dollars per week, per person.”
The initiative to reduce the theft of recyclable materials began when customers reported strangers rummaging through their trash, said Nicole Impagliazzo, Concord Disposal Services spokesperson.
“The possibility of identity theft became a concern,”
Impagliazzo told Patch.
Llanos said another concern is that these thefts could lead to higher trash rates. In 1989 California passed the Integrated Waste Management Act, which mandated that cities recycle 50 % of their waste by 2000. If cities do not reach their goal, the city does not receive the financial credits associated with meeting state requirements.
Impagliazzo and Llanos were not sure how much recyclable garbage has been liberated from bins this year. However, Llanos was certain that taking recyclable items from a trash receptacle is illegal.
He said that Concord Police are discussion the possibility of issuing citations to people who break this law. The amount of the fine has not been set. Thefts can be reported to the recycling theft hotline at (925) 671-3100.