Sunday, August 16, 2020

There's Big Money In Cardboard

And we're not talking the contents of an Amazon Prime box.

From the BBC:

The millions being made from cardboard theft
Getting all your cardboard recycled may often seem like a pain, but there is big money to be made from all this so-called "beige gold". And sadly this is attracting criminals around the world.
Thieves are making a fortune from stealing used cardboard that's been left out to be recycled, and selling it on. This means that legitimate recycling firms, and the city and other local authorities who take a cut from their sales, are missing out on tens of millions.

"To be honest, most of us don't care who takes it away, as long as it goes," says a shopkeeper in the bustling Chamartin district of central Madrid.

Behind him stand two of the Spanish capital's well-known blue municipal recycling bins, which until February of this year had been raided daily by one of the city's numerous recycled cardboard trafficking gangs.

Meanwhile, a few miles away, at the headquarters of the Nature Protection Service (Seprona) of the Spanish Guardia Civil police force, hangs a map of Madrid covered in different coloured dots. The 18 colours mark out the 18 different routes used by the various gangs.

Seprona was brought in to help tackle the problem in 2018 after Madrid's city police force, the Policia Municipal Madrid, had failed to solve the issue with its policy of fining anyone caught stealing used cardboard. It was estimated that almost half of all cardboard put into recycling in Madrid was being stolen.

Back in February, the Seprona-led Operation Hartie (the Romanian word for paper) leapt into action, and 42 suspected cardboard gang members were arrested on suspicion of environmental offences and money laundering....