"Everything that is really great and inspiring is created by the individual who can labor in freedom" Albert Einstein

"A dame who knows the ropes isn't likely to get tied up." Mae West

Friday, May 21, 2010

Friday pondering

Is it theft when an unknown party takes items from a pile of electronics left near the street curbing intended for a specific recycling company?

Here's the back story: Our small rural community has never had an electronics recycling day.  Larger towns in the area have special days for this, but theirs are often limited to residents of their own cities or we have to drag our items a distance of 25 miles or more to participate.

So I encouraged a local non-profit group to sponsor one in conjunction with our community clean-up, spruce-up week.  We had a very difficult time finding any recyclers willing to do this in a small town, but finally one agreed.  To encourage recycling and make it easy for residents, we arranged curb-side pickup. To help finance the effort, we charged a small donation for TVs based upon size.  Pickup of all other electronic items was free. Names and addresses requesting pickup were registered.

And so, one or more unknown people cherry-picked the items left near the curbs all over town before the recycling company arrived. Even items specifically flagged with red forms from the non-profit organization were taken. The recycling company was left with half the items originally registered, mostly pure junk, and the largest bulky TVs that couldn't be quickly and easily thrown into the trunk of a car. 

As a result, there probably won't be future electronics recycling days in our small town because a few bad apples have made it unprofitable for a recycling company to return.

Yes, it was theft from the recycling company and theft of any future recycling days for our residents.


Going Like Sixty said...

That really sucks.

I read recently that a college in Colorado worked a deal with Salvation Army to pick up stuff students normally would put in dumpsters when they moved out of dorms.

People kvetched about the lack of good dumpster-diving.


Nice try. Give yourself credit for that!

white rabbit said...

A lawyer writes: the only way in which this could not be theft is if the property was abandoned. I cannot see that it could realistically be said it had been abandoned when simply set aside to be dealt with by certain people in a cetain way. So - yup - legally as well as morally this is theft.

Catch Her in the Wry said...

gls & white: We received good news - the recycling company is willing to come back, but there will be a drop-off site only, not curbside pickup.

The thieves were sighted in a white pickup truck towing a flatbed trailer. The police are on the case and so are many angry residents of our town. We're determined to bust 'em.