Thieves rob pallets, a week’s salary

Last weekend, thieves made away with about 60 pallets from the Smithers and Area Recycling Centre.

Earnie Harding just doesn’t understand why.

Harding, who established the Smithers and Area Recycling Centre on Tatlow Road 10 years ago, is upset after thieves made away with about 60 pallets.

The theft occurred the weekend of May 4, Harding said.

The pallets are recovered from local businesses and repaired by employees at the recycling centre.

It’s not so much the loss of the pallets that has Harding upset, but rather the fact the pallets, worth about $400, represent about one week’s salary for one of the workers at the recycling centre.

“We’re a charitable society and the recycling is an employment base for people with special needs,” Harding said.

“The money goes to the Recycling Society for operation expenses and salaries.”

The recycling centre employs seven people who, in addition to refurbishing pallets, also help sort through recyclables, such as #2 plastics and shrink wrap, newsprint, magazines, packaging and cardboard.

This is not the first time thieves make off with pallets, Harding said.

“We’ve made reports to the police,” he said.

“I can see that it’s pretty hard for them to cover everything.”

Harding said they try to block access to the pallets, but can’t block access completely.

Adding injury to insult, next to the pile of pallets stolen, is a pile of pallets that are too mangled to repair, but those pallets were left behind.

The loss also hits the bottom line for the recycling centre.

“Commodity prices right now are at rock bottom,” Harding said.

“We’re struggling to make ends meet.”