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Rummaging Through Recycling
updated: Jul 25, 2011, 11:23 AM

By Edhat Subscriber

Observed a middle aged male rummaging through the recycle bins (it is trash/recycle day) on my street in San Roque. He was clearly looking for aluminum cans, since he left other items scattered around. What action would you take?

Comments in order of when they were received | (reverse order)

 COMMENT 196347P agree helpful negative off topic

2011-07-25 11:29 AM

I have seen that guy, he is quite nice!

 

 COMMENT 196348 agree helpful negative off topic

2011-07-25 11:29 AM

none... i don't see any harm here... unless you are simply looking to put someone down a little, i dont see any good reason to bring the man any trouble. It sounds like he is already down on his luck. but if pulling him down makes you feel better...

 

 COMMENT 196349 agree helpful negative off topic

2011-07-25 11:31 AM

Unfortunately they are doing this all over town... Some people are all right with it and some of us feel a little bit of an invasion having people rummage especially through our trash. I am not sure of what can be done about it. We have even had people take cans from our trash area that is behind our fence! Make sure to shred your banking/bills, etc. I will be eager to see if there are any posts that have good suggestions.

 

 COMMENT 196350 agree helpful negative off topic

2011-07-25 11:31 AM

LOL, this is the first you've seen this? People do this ALL over town usually during the night while you're all tucked in or early in the morning. What action do you take? If it bothers you so much don't leave you're bins out till it's close to pick up time. The only thing that bothers me is if they do it late at night and make a ruckus so ours don't go out till morning. Most that do this are respectful and don't make a mess, probably why you've never noticed before. Live and let live, some people have to go to extraordinary measures to survive around here and I'm not just talking about homeless vagrant folks. Many of these people that do this have homes.

 

 COMMENT 196354 agree helpful negative off topic

2011-07-25 11:34 AM

If your bin is out on the curb, what's the big deal? I'd get a little weirded out if my bin was still up near my house, but if its on the curb who cares?

 

 SHOREBIRD agree helpful negative off topic

2011-07-25 11:43 AM

I think that the operant concept here is "left other items scattered around." It's not good for the neighborhood when trash is trashed. Someone who does this is NOT "quite nice."

I don't ever put aluminum cans in my recycling and have put a piece of paper under the lid that says.

"PLEASE DON'T MAKE A MESS. THERE IS NO ALUMINUM IN THIS CAN."

 

 SHOREBIRD agree helpful negative off topic

2011-07-25 11:46 AM

Also, If you want to "donate" your recyclables to people down on their luck put them is a separate bag, left outside of your recycle container and label it.

"Free aluminum cans"

 

 COMMENT 196362P agree helpful negative off topic

2011-07-25 11:48 AM

Does this have any effect on the success of our recycling companies?

 

 COMMENT 196364 agree helpful negative off topic

2011-07-25 11:49 AM

Don't you watch crime dramas? When you put your trash out, all expectations of privacy end. So what if someone wants your cans- is that really a bigger problem for you than their need to rummage for them is for them? Begrudging your recycling? Come on people, have a heart, please. And San Roque, welcome to the world.

 

 COMMENT 196371P agree helpful negative off topic

2011-07-25 11:59 AM

How about simply asking him to pick up after himself?

 

 COMMENT 196372 agree helpful negative off topic

2011-07-25 12:01 PM

Once you put the trash at the curb it's legally no longer yours - you relinquish ownership. Just let it be.

 

 ROGER DODGER agree helpful negative off topic

2011-07-25 12:01 PM

Oh I'm sorry that was me I mean't to put everything back.

 

 COMMENT 196377 agree helpful negative off topic

2011-07-25 12:07 PM

We live downtown down a loooong driveway. Our recycle bins are down that loooong driveway behind our carport. You really have to snoop to find it. Countless times there have been people going thru our trash and honestly it does feel like a bit of an intrusion. They are basically trespassing on private property. My boyfriend loudly tells them this and tells them to please not come again. There is enough weird stuff going on downtown, strangers under my bedroom window feels a little too creepy for me.

 

 COMMENT 196381 agree helpful negative off topic

2011-07-25 12:12 PM

196371P YES to this.

 

 COMMENT 196389 agree helpful negative off topic

2011-07-25 12:29 PM

If you can stand the smell of my garbage and recycle cans long enough to root through it, then more power to you!

 

 COMMENT 196393 agree helpful negative off topic

2011-07-25 12:32 PM

Leave him alone. For years we had a tramp in the UK who came to our refuse cans every night. We were sure to keep a few tit bits for him - bread,meat,cheese and fruit. He came after dark because he did not want anyone to see him. I remember in the winter my father left for his comfort warm clothing, including his army coat, boots and sweaters.

 

 COMMENT 196399 agree helpful negative off topic

2011-07-25 12:58 PM

I love the response of the UK family leaving a warm coat & boots etc. Seems like another era, and sweet. I'm also appreciating the generous nature of the responses from most everyone today.

Re the recycling, as 62P noted - funds from the aluminum cans and such are calculated in to the costs of the recycling program. In other words, the cans are worth something. That's why the folks take them, they get money for them. It really is money that does not then get in to the funds to pay for the recycling, so the costs actually come back to us.

 

 COMMENT 196401 agree helpful negative off topic

2011-07-25 01:09 PM

I've seen a guy doing that in my neighborhood and he wears a construction, reflective vest, making him look "official." At first it bothered me, but once I thought about it, if someone has to do that to make money, they must really be hurting. Now, it doesn't bother me in the slightest.

 

 COMMENT 196404 agree helpful negative off topic

2011-07-25 01:11 PM

What do the "homeless" need money for anyways? Aren't they getting their meals, clothes and shelter provided for free. Since no one is handing out cigarettes, booze and drugs, I guess they need to take our cans to fund those habits.

 

 COMMENT 196417 agree helpful negative off topic

2011-07-25 01:43 PM

I found out from the recyclers that it is against the law. They give them a ticket. They are rummaging through Marborg recycles which belongs to them. Stealing is a crime. Also that's how Marborg gets so much money.

 

 ROGER DODGER agree helpful negative off topic

2011-07-25 01:58 PM

CRV is equivlint to one half what is paid at the grocery store for the container in the first place. 24 plastic bottles of water 1.20 is paid you get .60 cents back. Recycling is very hard work and not all recyclers go on private proptery to get containers. I got my neighbor into it he averages 100-150.00 a week recycling. I'd rather he get recycling otter than Marborg.

 

 COMMENT 196440 agree helpful negative off topic

2011-07-25 02:14 PM

Most that are rummaging in neighborhoods aren't the vagrant types that plague downtown, they often have someplace to live, they just don't make much money.

 

 COMMENT 196447P agree helpful negative off topic

2011-07-25 02:41 PM

I'm inclined to say "who cares", but really, do you want a vagrant hanging outside your house, rummaging through your trash, possibly making a mess? And it is true that the recycling belongs to Marborg, and the vagrants are stealing from THEM.

Don't ever forget that one of the chief ways that identities are stolen are from personal info stolen from personal trash. Most of these vagrants are simply looking for CRV redemption items, but you never know.

 

 COMMENT 196448 agree helpful negative off topic

2011-07-25 02:44 PM

I forgot to mention this when telling my story from the UK. Our refuse was disposed in large metal cans with lids. One night there was a terrific crash which awakened my brother and me with a start. Scared, we ran into our parent's room, to be assured all was well,it was only poor James, the tramp, who had dropped one of those heavy metal lids outside our back entrance!

 

 COMMENT 196456 agree helpful negative off topic

2011-07-25 02:57 PM

Living downtown, I have long been used to people rummaging through our trash. They come back into our yard and get the trash. We put up a fence with a gate, and they STILL do it. The problem is that we got home one day, and someone had 'rummaged' through a parcel left for us by UPS, by breaking into it. So, we locked the gate. Barrier fencing is going up all over the neighborhood, not a pretty sight. I sympathize with San Roque.

 

 COMMENT 196459P agree helpful negative off topic

2011-07-25 03:00 PM

I know people who work in the recycling department of the city and they have said that they count on the amount of recycling coming through residential collection to be a certain amount. Although it's great that the material is still being recycled, the amount of funds necessary to continue to recycle will be cut if the need is lessened due to not enough material coming through. I for one am glad that these programs exist, so in addition to the noise pollution and mess that the rummaging causes, I am also annoyed that they are messing with the programs.

I don't have any solutions for what to do--in my case, our dumpsters and recycling are in the back of our complex, down a driveway and around a corner--definitely not on public property! I wish I knew that I could take some action and have it be effective--if I were to call someone, they'd be gone by the time that authority arrived. Frustrating!

 

 COMMENT 196462P agree helpful negative off topic

2011-07-25 03:06 PM

For this, I'd not take any action at all. If you wanted to lug your recycled glass, cans and bottles to the dump for cash, you could do it too. It all still gets recycled. I'd be happy I didn't have to do this to make ends meet.

The only thing that really gets me is sometimes I leave stuff out for Alpha Thrift and people in my area will rummage through, open up taped boxes that clearly say Alpha and take what they want. To me, that's theft. I didn't intend for them to take it. Bottles and cans, I don't care about, as long as they end up going to the recycle as I intended them, then I can't begrudge someone who is trying to make $$.

 

 COMMENT 196489 agree helpful negative off topic

2011-07-25 04:12 PM

I agree with the suggestion to politely request he not make a mess. You'd be surprised how effective it can be. Where we lived on the Mesa, I'd acknowledge the can pickers and establish report, occasionally offering a glass lemonade or the like. once befriended, most will go out of their way to look after and protect your area from drunks, rowdies, mess-makers, and thieves. Had one track down and recover a stolen bike for me a few months ago. Thanks again, Mike!

 

 COMMENT 196497 agree helpful negative off topic

2011-07-25 04:51 PM

If this was on N. Ontare Monday am, and you are speaking of the man with the shopping cart, then this is not a simple case of someone looking for recycling. He is deranged. As I drove by a couple of times I saw him disappearing from his cart and it appeared he might have been in people's back yards. The police have had numerous face-to-face mtgs with him; he wanders the foothill roads, even the dead ends. This is not someone you want lurking outside your home. He screams, glares and gestures to anyone who drives by. Potentially dangerous.

 

 COMMENT 196507 agree helpful negative off topic

2011-07-25 05:29 PM

I'd rather see them scavenge for stuff, then to be begging for money. At least they are working...... It's hard work to bend over those cans and retrieve stuff. But, they get some really cool stuff outta those cans. I talked with a scavenger yesterday and he said he got a really cool watch out of the recycle can that day !!!

 

 COMMENT 196512 agree helpful negative off topic

2011-07-25 05:45 PM

The real money in recycling is in the Aluminum. It is the only material in there that is significantly more economical to recycle than make/mine more of.

If you leave out the Aluminum (or someone ILLEGALLY removes it from the bins) and expect your provider to deal with the virtually worthless (by comparison) paper, plastic, etc., then you should eventually expect to see an increase in your collection rates due to significant lost revenue from that Aluminum. Or, perhaps if it wasn't all being stolen already, your rates would be lower.

The commenter who said they are stealing from the trash company is correct, and you know they'll "pass the savings on to you" . . .

 

 COMMENT 196547P agree helpful negative off topic

2011-07-25 06:44 PM

In response to the original question, I have not done anything when I've seen a person regularly go through recycling bins, take things out, and lug them home.

What I wish is that Marborg had stickers posted on the tops of the bins in at least two languages stating this is illegal. I also wish the stickers had a phone number to call when someone is seen doing this and that the caller would be ensured someone (not the police) would promptly take action and apprehend the person ... even at dawn. I don't want to get involved to the point where we'd be subjected to retribution.

Our personal defense is to never leave anything of "value" in the top portion of the bin and to put out the bin as close to pickup time as possible.

 

 COMMENT 196632 agree helpful negative off topic

2011-07-26 06:53 AM

Wow, it took a lot of posts to point out that this type of action is illegal.

 

 COMMENT 196633 agree helpful negative off topic

2011-07-26 06:58 AM

Wow, 404 that is harsh! There is a lady that does her "route" several times a week in my 'hood downtown and I appreciate her indusrtiousness and her shameless ability to do whatever it takes to keep food on the table. Sometimes she brings her daughter to help.

 

 ROGER DODGER agree helpful negative off topic

2011-07-26 07:08 AM

Some of the posts were intresting. I found a rolex watch in a dumpster once took it to the people that threw it out they told me to keep it. That it wasn't worth anything...I have found alot of things besides recycling mostly what people throw out from moving. Anything from acouple cases of sealed booze, to a Honda motorcycle to money, marijuana, sealed food, clothing, and household items..Alumnium is like 1.59 a pound there are so many people recycling you have to make a route for yourself. It's not easy to do and many recyclers are not homeless. I used to know of a patroling security guard that took recyclables save it up and buy tv's, vcrs, stereos..

 

 COMMENT 196645 agree helpful negative off topic

2011-07-26 07:19 AM

I say "Good for them" so long as they don't leave a mess behind or go onto private property. I far prefer this--actual work activity--than people sitting with signs on State Street. In their own way they can establish a sense of pride at finding and recycling. And some of the people are amazing in the way they organize and collect their found goods! It certainly beats the destruction of private or public property done by so-called graffiti artists.

 

 COMMENT 196649 agree helpful negative off topic

2011-07-26 07:35 AM

We deal with it by keeping trash/recyling in an enclosed space and we don't put it out until early in the morning on pick-up day. Papers items with our name on it are shredded. It takes a bit more work, time and thought but if you are concerned, that should take care of it.

 

 COMMENT 196707P agree helpful negative off topic

2011-07-26 09:20 AM

We have two regular recycle scavengers. One is an older man who rides a red bicycle. He is definitely looking for aluminum cans. I let him be. The other is a younger woman who walks with a shopping cart. She is clearly looking for paper with any type of ID info on it. I have run out and yelled at her to leave - even took a photo.

 

 COMMENT 196708 agree helpful negative off topic

2011-07-26 09:22 AM

The City has a recycling department?

 

 COMMENT 196723 agree helpful negative off topic

2011-07-26 09:33 AM

This is the reason the big commercial dumpsters have locks on them. Will our residential recycling containers be next?

 

 COMMENT 196725 agree helpful negative off topic

2011-07-26 09:35 AM

My only concern would be identity theft. My paper shredder can't keep up with the volume of material that includes personal details, so much goes in the recycling bin.

 

 COMMENT 196727 agree helpful negative off topic

2011-07-26 09:37 AM

we have various peoples coming all the way up our driveway and crossing carports to get to cans -- I do feel this is trespassing, but signs posted just get torn off. Often I've asked them, nicely, to please not do this, that they are trespassing. Usually they just ignore me and keep on doing it. I feel sad for these people, yet also feel invaded and "used".

 

 COMMENT 196778 agree helpful negative off topic

2011-07-26 11:19 AM

You might set out some birdseed, tea, crumpets, and the usual steak tartar.

 

 COMMENT 196854 agree helpful negative off topic

2011-07-26 02:02 PM

Although this thread is probably past its prime by now, an article in LATimes about providing locking trash cans is pertinent:
http://latimesblogs.latimes.com/lanow/2011/07/officials-may-offer-trash-cans-with-locks-to-thwart-scavengers.html

 

 COMMENT 197560 agree helpful negative off topic

2011-07-28 10:04 AM

I am not surprised that this post generated so much response. I understand that it is illegal to go through someone's bin, HOWEVER, I think that simply interacting with the person and asking them not to make a mess is the way to go.

Some of us are lucky enough to live in houses or apartments and go to work each day, make enough money to pay our bills and live a normal life.

If someone is industrious enough to go from house to house , root through smelly bins for recylcle-ables and lug heavy packages around til they get to the recycle center, leave them alone and allow them to earn money this way.

The post that made the most sense was 489. Live and let live. Even better, have a HUMAN INTERACTION with the person who is going through your refuse. Bring them a cup of coffee or something to eat. We only live once.

 

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