General Question

lilikoi's avatar

How should I deter my neighbors from filling up my garbage can every week?

Asked by lilikoi (10079points) March 8th, 2010

Every week, my neighbors (a couple) drive down their driveway, pull into my driveway, and proceed to unload a trunk-full of garbage into my and my other neighbor’s garbage cans, then return up their driveway.

Today, I was curious what they were throwing out. I looked in my can, and discovered hundreds of patients’ medical files. Sure is a relief to know that my confidential medical files can end up in some random residential garbage can and sit on the street for anyone to pick through…

I make great effort to minimize the amount of trash I produce, and the thought of another couple producing enough trash every week to fill three cans disturbs me. I also think it is unfair that they feel entitled to encroach on others’ city-allocated bi-weekly garbage production allowance. It also peeves me to know this is paper that could be recycled, and more importantly, this is confidential paper that should be shredded and destroyed.

Do I report them to some authority? Do I leave an angry letter taped to their can demanding rent for the use of my can? Do I glue a dead fish to the lid? Or purchase offensive, life-threatening stickers to decorate the can with? What should I do?

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30 Answers

Response moderated
holden's avatar

Yes! It is illegal and an invasion of privacy to interfere with someone else’s trash. You need to report them.

filmfann's avatar

Go talk to them. Tell them that you will call names you find in their medical files, and let the patients know that their doctor (or whatever) isn’t being careful with their private information.

holden's avatar

Just read this part:

Today, I was curious what they were throwing out. I looked in my can, and discovered hundreds of patients’ medical files. Sure is a relief to know that my confidential medical files can end up in some random residential garbage can and sit on the street for anyone to pick through…

These people need to be reported immediately.

MissAnthrope's avatar

I’m pretty sure, confidential files aside, that what they’re doing is illegal. Next time, get their license plate number. That, or rig your trash cans to explode when they open them.

wilma's avatar

I would report them, to what authority I’m not sure, I suppose the police.

Your_Majesty's avatar

Catch them on action. Report them. Or at least try to lock/hide your trash can.

holden's avatar

YES, to the police! Jesus, there have GOT to be SO MANY LAWS against what they are doing.

wilma's avatar

Get some evidence first. Pictures and the actual trash that they left. Have your other neighbors also witnessed this?

mcbealer's avatar

See if there’s a pattern as to what day/time they do this. Document any dumpings you witness. Try to get the tag info off their vehicle and pictures if possible without placing yourself in any danger. Save the trash, and contact the police. Foward any information from the police report to the licensing board this turd practices under, as well as the BBB.

syz's avatar

I’m passive aggressive (and sometimes just aggressive), so I’d pull all of that crap back out and stack it in front of their front door. But that’s just me.

(You may also want to consider contacting the State Medical Board.)

LuckyGuy's avatar

You can pretend you just found the papers in your trash and thought they might be very important so you are returning them to the hospital.
It will all roll downhill from there.

jbfletcherfan's avatar

Of course, this is illegal!!! Try to get a video of them doing this. Then take it to the police.

thriftymaid's avatar

File a trespass claim.

rottenit's avatar

Get a 2nd can and glue the lid shut to frustrate them?

How about filling the cans with someting like super gross.

Surprise!

Captain_Fantasy's avatar

That sounds like something the police might want to get involved with.
There’s a crime bigger than waste disposal happening here.

CyanoticWasp's avatar

I love @worriedguy‘s answer.

”... it will all roll downhill from there.”

faye's avatar

Hey, please post what happens. I like @syz” idea and call the cops.

SABOTEUR's avatar

This kind of thing gives me a headache.

It’s a nuisance that threatens to waste a lot of time, energy and possibly money correcting and it’s all so unneccessary.

Were it me, I’d probably go to my local Home Depot, purchase 2 or 3 industrial sized trash receptacles and wait for “the couple” on the next trash pickup day. Then I’d politely gift them the trash receptacles while explaining that I’d rather they use that than inconvenience me further by overflowing my cans.

If I’m lucky, they’ll take the gift and I’ll never see them again.

Otherwise, I’m sure there’s a few crackheads around who wouldn’t mind earning a couple dollars “discouraging trespassers”.

JeffVader's avatar

Why not try the hillbill approach….. drag ur sofa onto your front lawn & sit there drinkin beer & watchin ur chillin play while scratching ur nuts with ur shotgun. I doubt they’d do it again if they expected buckshot in the ass!

SABOTEUR's avatar

The ol’ “buckshot in the ass” maneuver. I like it!

JeffVader's avatar

@SABOTEUR I aim to please, hah! :)

Rufus_T_Firefly's avatar

I had a new neighbor move in about a year ago. A few days after she moved in, I noticed that she had put a bag of trash out with mine. This went on for another two or three weeks. Being a good neighbor, I let it go, thinking she just hadn’t had time to arrange for trash service yet. However, two and a half months later, she was still putting her trash out with mine and I was paying the bill Now, all it would have taken from her was a simple, “Do you mind if I put a bag of trash out with yours?” But, apparently she didn’t believe in such niceties, so the next time she did it, I placed the trash bag in front of her front door for her to find when she got home from work. That must’ve done the trick, because she had her own service the very next week.

lilikoi's avatar

I found some information on the federal law pertaining to medical records disposal. Thought I’d post it here in case anyone else has the same experience (but what are the odds of that heh)...or I lose the link and need to refer back to it someday (much more likely)...

Strauss's avatar

Maybe you should get a picture or video of them doing it, as well as a picture of the records they are dumping, and take it to the local news channel.

I guess what intrigues me is why they’re disposing of these medical records. What are they covering up? What are they trying to avoid?

Ponderer983's avatar

It is illegal to put your trash in other people’s cans, so you could report them to your town DPW and see what happens if you want to be passive about it. If you are not passive, confront them

MissA's avatar

Obviously, the medical files can be tied to the couple or they wouldn’t use your trash. I’d probably get a file or two and make some calls…perhaps a hospital…and, the police.

Wouldn’t you want to know?

YARNLADY's avatar

If this is your personal trash can, you can buy a lock for it. If it is the property of the waste disposal company, (like ours are) report it to them and to the police.

Response moderated (Writing Standards)
kritiper's avatar

Yes, report them to your city clerks or whoever. Call the trash people (who haul it away) and they can answer your questions. Here, it is against city code to use someone else’s cart or dumpster in an unauthorized fashion. In some cases it can result in a $300 fine. Also, it is illegal here to dispose of commercially generated waste in a residential trash cart or unauthorized dumpster.

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