In the past year, a Los Angeles Sheriff's Department task force charged with industrial plastic theft has turned over 47 criminal cases to prosecutors, and has recovered more than $6 million in stolen plastic. The statistics, from a Los Angeles Times story "Plastics thieves operating in plain sight cost Southland firms millions," should give you an idea of the extent of the problem. Plastics News has been reporting on the task force for about a year -- City of Industry, Calif., recently agreed to extend support for the industrial plastics theft task force beyond the initial one-year trial, which had been slated to end Aug. 31. Plastic theft -- mostly in the form of pallets and crates -- remains an expensive problem. According to the Times story:
- Downey, Calif.-based Rockview Farms dairy loses almost 1,200 plastic milk crates a day, at an annual cost of $1.4 million.
Sara Lee spends about $5 million a year replacing plastic bread trays nationwide -- about a third of which are lost in Southern California.