Having your trash can filled up by your neighbor can be annoying. Not only is it rude, but it becomes a headache especially if you’re paying for garbage disposal services. If this happens to you, you might be searching online regarding “how to deal with a neighbor putting trash in my can.”
If your neighbor is putting trash in your can all the time, try talking to them nicely and ask them to stop. If this doesn’t work, you can put a lock on your own garbage can to stop this behavior from happening.
Garbage disposal laws vary by state so it may be hard to pinpoint if your neighbor’s actions are considered illegal or not. If you need more help on how to stop your neighbor from filling your trash can with their garbage, you’ve come to the right place.
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Here’s a Quick Pro Tip!
Putting a lock on your garbage can is going to be the easiest and best way to deter neighbors from putting their trash in your cans.
While it won’t stop neighbors if they are super determined, they are usually too lazy to bother with trying to open a locked trash can.
We personally recommend getting the Strong Strap – Universal Garbage Can Lid Lock from Amazon for this.
How to Put a Lock on a Garbage Can
In stopping your neighbor from throwing their trash into your can, one of the things mentioned in this article is having a garbage can lock. This can be a helpful way of putting your message out there – that you don’t want anybody else putting trash and that they should stop doing what they’re doing.
Having a garbage can lock serves a lot of purposes. For one, if you come home or get out of the house to see that your trash can is filled up, but you know so well it’s not from your home, then the trash can lid lock can work. Keeping the lid closed ensures that the trash you have is your own rather than someone else’s.
Apart from that, having a trash can lid lock helps maintain clean surroundings. Since you’ll be waiting for your trash to be picked up, there is a chance for some of them to fall off a filled can. This then becomes litter that can possibly invite critters or make your property look messy and dirty.
Not to mention, litter does have an impact on the environment. You can avoid all that by making sure that your garbage can is secured shut. You can either invest in a heavy-duty trash container equipped with key lock, such as this Rubbermaid Waste Container or just get one of those universal straps that you can put on your existing cans.
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Is It Illegal to Put Your Garbage in Someone Else’s Bin?
It’s easy to think that having others use your trash bin is no big deal, especially if you don’t have a lot of trash to begin with. But then you’d have to wonder, is it illegal to use someone else’s garbage can? What if your own is already filled up and you’re thinking of using your neighbor’s trash can for that extra bag you have?
You should understand that garbage laws vary from city to city, but in some cases, it is illegal to put garbage in someone’s can. This is especially true if the person’s trash can is placed inside the property that one would have to get inside just to throw their garbage. That is already considered trespassing.
Another thing to consider is that a homeowner could be paying for a private trash collection service or he/she decided to rent out a private dumpster. This happens when a person knows he/she produces a great amount of trash. Maybe that person has weekly construction or DIY projects, for example. That would make them produce a lot of trash to throw out.
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Let’s say that person decided to rent out a dumpster but then finds that there are trash bags that they’re certain didn’t belong to them. Or better yet, the person caught their neighbor in the act throwing trash into that dumpster. This is still considered against the law – illegal dumping to be exact. That is basically stealing other people’s paid service.
Generally, illegal dumping is considered a misdemeanor and offenders may need to pay fines or face jail time. Still, each city has its own policies regarding this issue so it’s best to research your local laws.
Meanwhile, it is not considered illegal to throw garbage in another person’s trash can, if the trash can is placed on a common area or a public street. Of course, you still have to confirm this with your local laws. But in Denver, for instance, the city made it clear that it’s not illegal to throw trash in your neighbor’s trash can.
So, if you have your trash receptacle outside of your fence and out on the street, then you don’t have anything against a neighbor who used your trash can. In fact, it is encouraged for neighbors to work together to keep their trash well-managed, especially when recyclables are involved.
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How to Stop Neighbors From Using Your Garbage Can
Now, if you can’t stand your neighbor filling up your own trash can that’s located on your property, there are things you can do. Personally, if my neighbor filled my trash can, I would walk to them and confront them about it.
Of course, doing things politely is always the right way,however, things may not end well in most cases. I’ve even read about a person who walked up to their neighbor to address the issue. Instead of giving an apology, the neighbor lashed out and didn’t take responsibility, causing a rift between two people who live next to each other.
This could happen to you and if you don’t want any of that drama, here are some concrete tips to deal with the situation.
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1. Put a Lock on Your Garbage
As mentioned, a garbage can lock is very helpful. Chances are, your neighbor is being lazy with trash disposal, which is probably why your receptacle is being used. It could be that your trash can is the nearest and most convenient to them so they chose to dump their trash there.
If you put a lock, however, this gives them an extra step of removing locks or straps on the trash can lid. And if they’re that lazy, they might forget about your trash can and decide to throw their garbage in their own can.
2. Make Your Trash Can Inaccessible
If your trash can is in a public street, you can’t do much. It’s hard to catch someone in the act, unless you’re inside your home constantly spying for the next guy who’ll open your trash can lid.
If you don’t want your neighbor to do that, just move your garbage can inside your property.
3. Confront Your Neighbor
If none of the abovementioned tips work, maybe it’s time to talk to your neighbor. Perhaps, let them understand why you don’t like their trash in your trash can. Obviously, it’s your trash can but a clearer way to explain is that you may not have enough space for your own trash if their trash is taking up the room in your receptacle. The only thing you can hope for is that they understand and things will not escalate.
4. Take It to the Homeowners’ Association
This is for those who live in areas with an HOA. You can easily take it up to the HOA. You might even have other neighbors back you up on this. Chances are, other neighbors may have experienced the same thing done by the same person.
Since the HOA usually have policies on trash collection, you may want to bring up the matter to them. They should be able to come up with a solution that will benefit both parties.
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My Neighbor Keeps Putting Garbage in My Can
If you see your neighbor that one time they stuff their garbage in your trash can, I think it’s better to let it go and not make such a big deal about it. It’s possible that your neighbor may have run out of space on their can and decided to yours.
If that’s the case, it would be better to ignore things, especially if you still have a lot of room left before pick-up day. But if you constantly run out of trash can space because of your neighbor, then that’s the time to speak to them about it.
You may perhaps suggest they get a bigger bin. While putting trash in neighbor’s can just to get back at them may be tempting but it’s better not to do it.
The thought of having a neighbor putting trash in my can is annoying. It makes you feel you are cheated and stolen from, considered you’re paying for the trash collection service. But remember, that there are steps you can take to handle the situation while maintaining a good relationship with your neighbor.
Some people don’t make a big deal out of it, especially if they have polite neighbors who would ask permission first. But if you feel like your neighbor is taking advantage of you, it’s time to step up and confront them.