FOI request detail

Plastic theft

Request ID: FOI-2234-1819
Date published: 04 December 2018

You asked

Hello, I am looking into writing an article about plastic items going missing and then being sold by the thieves to recycling plants that then turn them back into other plastic items. According to the distributors of these baking baskets: around a fifth of them, or 2 million, are going missing every year. The baking industry has tracked them using tracking devices and found that they are being stolen from supermarket car parks etc, and taken backstreet regrinding centres, where they are ground into plastic pellets. They are then being sold to recycling plants that turn them back into other plastic items. I was wondering if you have heard reports about other items, such as traffic bollards/cones, are being stolen and recycled in this way? If so, how many cones have gone missing this year? Have the police been involved? Or any efforts being made to stop this happening?

We answered

Our ref: FOI-2234-1819/GH

Thank you for your request received by Transport for London (TfL) on 20 November 2018 asking for information about the plastic theft.

Your request has been considered under the requirements of the Freedom of Information Act 2000 and our information access policy.

I can advise that we are not aware of any thefts of our traffic bollards/cones or other plastic items for recycling purposes. We are not able to track traffic cones, but whilst occasionally some go missing, these are not of any significant number which would suggest any organised crime has occurred.  

If you are not satisfied with this response please see the attached information sheet for details of your right to appeal.

Yours sincerely

Graham Hurt

FOI Case Officer

FOI Case Management Team

General Counsel

Transport for London

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