Getting all your cardboard recycled may often seem like a pain, but there is big money to be made from all this so-called “beige gold”. And sadly this is attracting criminals around the world.
Thieves are making a fortune from stealing used cardboard that’s been left out to be recycled, and selling it on. This means that legitimate recycling firms, and the city and other local authorities who take a cut from their sales, are missing out on tens of millions.
“To be honest, most of us don’t care who takes it away, as long as it goes,” says a shopkeeper in the bustling Chamartin district of central Madrid.
Behind him stand two of the Spanish capital’s well-known blue municipal recycling bins, which until February of this year had been raided daily by one of the city’s numerous recycled cardboard trafficking gangs.