Garden Grove

City leaders mull how to fight scavenging

SCAVENGERS are often looking for recyclables such as aluminum cans.

By Jim Tortolano

The person who rifles through your recycle bin at your curbside may be doing it for profit, or may be doing it to raise money for a good cause, but either way it’s against the law, the Garden Grove City Council was told Tuesday night.

At the urging of Councilmember Kris Beard (District 1), the council heard a brief report on the issue of scavenging aluminum cans and other recyclable items for sale.

“I brought this forward because I have heard from citizens and [received] general questions about what do you do in a situation where people are going through your trash, and we have an increase in the homeless population and if that has a bearing on this case,” said Beard.

“People don’t realize,” said Mayor Steve Jones, “that when people come and take recyclables out of your garbage containers, that’s actually theft. Once it hits the garbage container, it’s actually the property of the recycling company, the trash company that has a contract with the city. It takes those items and recycles them and gets value from them, and that’s all baked into the their bids when they bid on the city contracts and stuff.” He added “It’s not only annoying, it’s illegal.”

Under current city law, scavenging is a misdemeanor, punishable by a fine of up to $1000 and/or a jail sentence of up to six months. The possibility of allowing for the issuing of administrative citations, which carry no possible jail time, was raised.

It was suggested that the best way to combat the problem would be to set the recycling bin out in the morning, rather than the night before scheduled pickup.

Councilman Phat Bui (District 4) said that he believed that some of those taking recyclables were trying to raise money for their church or temple, and that prosecution of those caught scavenging should be treated on a “case-by-case basis.”

The matter will come back for further consideration and possible action at the Nov. 28 meeting of the council.

Also at the meeting Tuesday night, the council:

  • approved an amendment to city codes governing – among other concerns – entertainment and/or alcohol sales in the civic center mixed zones; and
  • adopted a resolution approving the issuance of bonds for the financing of a 40-unit senior citizen apartment complex at 10080 and 10180 Garden Grove Blvd. The city would just serve as a conduit for the bonds and have no financial obligation.


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