- As viral mobile game Pokemon Go has grown in popularity across the world, York, England-based Business Waste has struggled to keep players out of dangerous waste and recycling sites.
- Aside from trespassing on properties, Pokemon Go players are reportedly roaming around active landfills sites, climbing into industrial bins filled with scrap metal, and hunting for Pokemon near plant machinery.
- Company spokesperson Mark Hall told Recycling Today that this problem is being reported by staff from all over England. "This is just the tip of the iceberg," he said.
While the Pokemon Go phenomenon has had positive benefits such as increased physical activity and social interaction among players, the dangers of the game have been presented in many ways, including distracted driving and late-night crime. And while it is doubtful that the waste industry could have anticipated much impact from the mobile game, players have made it clear they will explore anywhere to catch a Pokemon—even waste sites.
Business Waste employees are advising players to steer clear of such areas. And while this issues has not been widely reported in the U.S., it is safe to assume that a player likely will—or already has—entered a waste site without permission. Therefore, landfill operators, recycling center operators, and other waste industry officials should stay alert.
The game has had some positive impact on the world of waste as many players have collected trash on their adventures to catch more Pokemon. A group of nearly 1,700 people from across Southeast Missouri have joined together to cleanup their community while roaming around town for the game, and have encouraged others to do the same.
However, industrial waste sites are not as safe as neighborhoods and parks, and Hall warns that continued activity around such sites can have a grave result. "Real life isn’t like a game; you don’t get to go back to the beginning if you’re killed," he said to Recycling Today. "Steer clear of rubbish tips and recycling plants; it’s not worth it."