You might want to think twice the next time you’re planning on dumpster diving. Taking recyclables or trash from curbside bins will cost you a pretty penny in Davis.
According to the City of Davis Police Department, the current base fine for most infractions is $40. With court fees, the total would be about $235.
Davis Davis Municipal Codes state that taking from other people’s dumpsters is considered stealing. Code 32.01.060 states that curbside recyclables are the property of the city or the city’s authorized recyclables collector (Davis Waste Removal) at the time of the placement at the curb. Recyclables placed inside commercial containers become property of Davis Waste Removal once they're placed in the container.
The city has a franchise waste agreement with the company to collect all the trash and recyclables in town.
Davis Municipal Code 32.01.060 states garbage and other containerized solid wastes remain property of the generator until the material is removed from the container by the city or the city’s authorized collector. After recyclables are brought to the Davis Waste Removal center on Second Street, the company resells the containers.
Statewide, bills have been passed to deter recycling scavengers. For instance, Assembly Bill 1778 requires scrap yards that buy $100 or more of CRV bottles and cans or $50 or more of newsprint, to document transactions and to pay for these materials by check. The bill is intended to curb organized recycling theft in California.
So why do the city and other leaders seeing savagening as a problem?
“The revenue generated from the sale of recyclables goes directly back to the ratepayers in the form of lower service rates,” said Jennifer Gilbert, conservation coordinator for the City of Davis Public Works Department. “Recycling service is provided at no extra cost to Davis ratepayers because the revenue from the recyclables subsidizes the cost for the collection. When scavengers steal the recycling, however, they remove that revenue and cut the funding to the recycling program. In a way, scavengers are not only stealing from Davis Waste Removal, they’re stealing from the Davis ratepayers.”
Gilbert added that the city doesn’t make money off of the sales of the recyclables.
“The City Recycling Program receives complaints about scavenging, takes down the information and forwards it to the police department,” Gilbert said. “Citizens who see someone removing recyclables from a cart or bin are encouraged to get the license plate number of the vehicle and a detailed description of the individual, take a picture, if you can and it is safe to do so (send the picture to email@example.com) and call the non-emergency police number to report the crime.”
Gilbert said citizens can prevent recycling theft by bringing their recycling carts out to the curb the morning of their scheduled pick-up instead of the night before, so scavengers have less time to steal it.
John Geisler, manager of Davis Waste Removal, said the majority of people just put recyclables in their containers and don’t come to resell these items.
“People we suspect are scavenging show up everyday, but if there’s no proof there’s nothing we can do; it’s based on complaints we get,” he said. “The problem is that the recyclables belong to Davis Waste Removal and help fund the recycling program.”
Citizens can turn in their recyclable beverage containers for cash at NexCycle on Anderson Road, Davis Waste Removal on Second Street or V Lopez Recycling on Mace Boulevard. Davis Waste Removal also offers free 24-hour drop-off of cardboard, plastics #1 through #7, aluminum and steel cans, tin foil, paper, glass bottles, scrap metal used motor oil and oil filters at their 2727 2nd Street Recycling Center.
For more information on scavenging recyclables visit the city’s website.
Want to say something about this story? Comment below or post a blog directly to Davis Patch. Just click this link and you're ready to publish! Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org if you have questions.