New York City has now passed a bill that would raise the fine for anyone caught stealing rubbish from $100 to $2,000.
The city noticed the amount of paper and cardboard that was being recycled had dropped over the past year by as much as 25% in some parts of the city. And the culprits ? "Thieves" are taking other people's rubbish in an effort to make money.
City councilman Michael McMahon, chairman of the council's sanitation committee, says that material left out on the kerb is the property of the city of New York.
"It's not just some silly rubbish - the junk has value, and paper in particular pays for the collection of the glass and plastics ." he says.
John Dardy, commissioner for New York's department of sanitation, denies the city is being greedy.
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