Chicago aldermen go after criminally zealous recyclers

July 25, 2012

Chicago aldermen say a new ordinance should deter the theft of recyclable materials. They say this has been a growing problem, as wrought iron fences are stolen off lawns and copper taken from homes.

Ald. Walter Burnett of the 27th Ward said some junk peddlers go to extremes to find items they can sell for scrap.

"Some guys was walking down the street and one of our light poles — city light pole — fell down and they were taking it to the scrap dealer," Burnett told the council. "And I had to call the police to stop them. And I guarantee to you - the scrap dealer would deny it  — but that scrap dealer would have took that light pole and recycled it and made some money off of it and gave that guy maybe $20 for the city light pole."

The new rules passed Wednesday require scrap dealers to check people for identification and keep a log of all the recyclables they buy. 

Dealers will also be banned from buying from junk peddlers who transport the materials in grocery store shopping carts.