23 September 2020
Cardboard is often referred to as “beige gold”. Unfortunately, not everyone who’s in the business of recycling it is willing to play by the rules....
Cardboard recycling is not only good for the environment but also very lucrative. By 2024, the global market for legitimately traded cardboard is expected to reach $5.4 billion, which is why cardboard is often referred to as “beige gold”.
Unfortunately, not everyone who’s in the business of recycling cardboard is willing to play by the rules, and more and more countries are starting to deal with illegal cardboard recycling rings.
Normally, businesses have to pay specialised firms to pick up cardboard waste and send it to China, where it will be used to make new boxes.
But thieves intercept the cardboard and make up to $108 per ton. Since cardboard is untraceable, there’s no way for authorities to get it back. The problem is especially common in Spain, where 42 men have been accused of stealing and shipping 67,000 tons of cardboard worth $11.8 million and caused financial losses of $18.9 million to the city of Madrid.
The phenomenon isn’t unique to Spain: The same problem is also present in several other European countries, as well as New York and California.
Illegal cardboard recycling rings are causing huge financial losses in Europe