Reusable packaging theft is back in the news, along with seven and eight figure cost impacts.
Los Angeles County Sheriff’s investigators have recovered around $1.3 million in stolen plastic containers, crates, pallets and other reusable packaging from businesses throughout the San Gabriel Valley, as reported in the Los Angeles press. One detective is quoted in the piece as saying that plastics theft costs businesses in the San Gabriel Valley $10 million per year, based on a study undertaken three years ago.
Police commented on factors related to the pallet and container thefts:
The estimated $1.3 million represented all of the merchandise recovered by the sheriff’s department from November, 2010 to May 2011.
Sheriff’s deputies believe that after plastic containers have been stolen and recycled, they are being formed once again into new containers for sale to local area businesses, hence the importance of working with recyclers to prevent the purchase of stolen plastics. Authorities said they had no concerns with local area recyclers, but do with some operations in neighboring cities.
Investigations have led to six cases now opened against recycling centers found to be involved in recycling stolen plastics.
Other important steps in preventing plastics theft include clear ownership markings, pallet and container control, and safeguarding of containers.