Where there’s muck, there’s brass

Where’s there’s muck there truly is brass according to the late Benjamin Luberoff writing in Chemistry & Industry. Luberoff reported that in Sacramento, California, someone is stealing the trash. Not just any old rubbish, mind, the stuff that’s getting the attention of the local criminal fraternity, or sorority, is the tonnes of recyclables residents kindly sort and leave out for collection every week.

It’s easy to load a pickup truck with aluminium Coors cans, paper and glass, drive to the local recycling plant and pick up a few nickels and dimes in return for one’s efforts, he reckons. The local police department estimates that some $400,000 worth of recyclables are being scavenged from among the garbage of the citizenry each year.

A sizeable loss to the city coffers to add to the $250,000 they spend on disposal of old fridges and tyres. I’m waiting with interest to see the same happening in Cambridge where a kerb-side recycling scheme was implemented last year. If it’s good enough for California.