Manhole Cover Theft

As noted yesterday, manhole cover theft is a not infrequent problem – usually in the third-world, admittedly, but increasingly often in (slightly) more civilized parts of the world.

You sort of have to wonder why, though. A manhole cover weighs, depending on age and design, anywhere from 90 to 150 pounds; some special ones can weigh twice that. Currently, cast iron and steel scrap is worth $200-$250 per ton; which means the intrinsic value of a manhole cover is, if I’m doing the math right, from $9 to just under $20 – and you’d presumably get somewhat less than that from a junkyard. (Copper, by contrast, is worth $2-3 per pound, as scrap – and you’ll get about half that from a junkyard.)

Seriously, how hard up are you that you’re stealing manhole covers to make $5-10 apiece? I know we’re probably talking about drug – likely meth – addicts, but, still…

“Manhole covers: for when you’re too proud to dig in dumpsters for pop cans.”

As an aside, it’s kind of sad how little value, if any, modern, “high tech” materials have – and how few are really recyclable. Carbon-fiber, graphite-ceramic composites and all the other bleeding-edge materials are very cool, but despite their high production costs they have little if any value as recyclables, if they’re even recyclable at all…

Published in: 'D' for 'Dumb', Geekiness, General, Urban Exploration | on February 6th, 2008| Comments Off on Manhole Cover Theft

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