Waste - it's real crime!

This morning the Environment Agency issued a press release that revealed that the number of people sent to prison for committing serious waste crime offences has almost trebled in the last three years.


Perhaps not surprisingly, the EA’s first annual Waste Crime Report shows that organised gangs are behind this activity, dumping waste in towns and cities and using areas around motorways to run large-scale illegal waste operations.

In a bid to crack down on this unscrupulous behaviour, the EA is urging the public to report any waste crimes to its incident hotline, or anonymously to Crimestoppers.

Crimes like those described above are serious and as waste increasingly is seen as a resource, the lengths to which criminals will go to profit from waste and recycling can be quite eye opening.  

Take for instance a recent news story from NBC News in the United States, which reported how three men had netted more than $100K by stealing old bundles of cardboard that were waiting to be picked up by another recycling company from Walmart and Sam’s Club stores across New Jersey.

If you search the internet, you can find hundreds of stories just like this from around the world. Where there’s money to be made, you’ll find criminal activity lurking nearby.

Handing down a prison sentence is one form of punishment. However, judging by a recent e-petition to HM Government another option could be to force criminals to sort recycling. In the end, this particular e-petition only attracted a handful of signatories before the closing date, so hasn’t been taken any further.

And anyway, would you really want someone who was convicted of profiting from stolen recycling sorting through these materials as a punishment? Mind you, stranger things have happened!

Nick Warburton

Topics: Waste & resource management
Tags: crime | walmart
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