New York City officials said the city has broken up a cardboard recycling theft operation, part of a problem causing the waste and recycling industry tens of thousands of dollars, according to the National Solid Wastes Management Association (NSWMA).
The New York City Business Integrity Commission (BIC) said it arrested three perpetrators who had created a company to steal cardboard from New Jersey retail sites, such as Wal-Mart and Sam’s Club, according to a news release. The BIC, along with the New Jersey State Police, charge thatVincenzo Grasso and Neil Devito, under the company name Metro Paper Inc., built a shadow operation that sent trucks to stores in New Jersey from New York, where they essentially posed as legal waste haulers. They would scout for stores, steal cardboard from loading docks and sell it at transfer stations in New York and New Jersey. BIC investigators believe the operation generated more than $100,000 in revenue from the sale of the stolen cardboard.
DeVito and John Nichols were charged with four separate felony charges. Grasso was arrested on a parole violation.
“NSWMA is pleased that New York City and New Jersey law enforcement authorities are working together to combat recyclables theft,” said Thomas Toscano, chairman of the NSWMA's New York City chapter and the president of Mr. T Carting Corp. in Glendale, N.Y. “NSWMA members in New York City are losing $8 million to $10 million per year due to cardboard theft.”
NSWMA General Counsel David Biderman said, “NSWMA recently testified at a New York City Council hearing in favor of legislation addressing recyclable theft. Today’s announcement highlights the need for this legislation and further enforcement action.”
The price of cardboard is hovering around $100 per ton, making it an attractive target for thieves. “With the value of recyclables spiking, there can be no window of opportunity for this organized criminal behavior,” said Shari Hyman, BIC commissioner and chairman.
“The daily theft of cardboard hurts our entire industry, from small family-owned hauling operators to larger firms who lose the revenue, and their customers that feel the loss in greater fees,” said Ron Bergamini, CEO of Action Environmental Services, the largest commercial hauler in New York City.