Förpacknings- och Tidningsinsamlingen (FTI), a company that manages some 6,000 recycling centres in Sweden, has been using spies to rat out those who leave their trash scattered around the recycling area in an attempt to crack down on litter.
“I was shocked to find out it was such a big offence,” said a 77-year-old woman who is set to go to court this week for leaving an old frying pan next to a dumpster in March, according to Swedish Radio.
Unsure of which container to toss her old frying pan into, she put it down and was caught and reported by one of the 25 FTI spies working in Sweden.
FTI is also seeking permission to set up security cameras at several of its more troubled recycling centres. The first camera is planned for a station in Malmö, newspaper Metro reported.
Some 1,100 litter bugs have been reported to police by the FTI workers since the program began in 2001. FTI said trash surrounding recycling centres costs the company big money to clean up.
“If you come to a recycling centre that is always ugly with trash and junk, the desire to recycle decreases,” said John Strand, spokesman for FTI. “Cleaner stations make it easier to recycle.”
Swedish law requires recyclers to put their items in the bins. Fines have ranged from a few hundred kronor up to 18,000 kronor since the plan’s inception.
“We have spent 60 million kronor in cleaning the recycling centres that are messy with trash,” Strand said. “We don’t want to report old ladies, but when we are always suffering from systematic littering, such things happen.”