Central Coast NSW recycling bin complaint sparks debate

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An Aussie neighbourhood has been divided over a seemingly harmless rubbish bin matter that has revealed itself as surprisingly contentious.

Terse debate broke out among Central Coast residents, north of Sydney, this week after a local expressed extreme discomfort at his neighbour’s kids going through his bin.

The man claimed the children were “every week” sorting through his recycling and “stealing” bottles and cans to later redeem at a Return and Earn depot for 10 cents.

In an online post on Monday, he claimed he felt he was being violated and was at his “wits end”.

“I’ve spoken to their parents and they are denying it even though I’ve seen them load cans into their cars,” he wrote.

“I feel like my privacy is breached and they know exactly what I’m eating and drinking. I’m at wits end and have no one else to turn to but the police I guess.”

His complaint resonated broadly among the community, with the post quickly attracting more than 600 responses – many from people challenging his perspective.

While the man behind the post was exposed by a few locals for being a frequent “troll”, his suggestion – whether legitimate or not – that recycling bins weren’t free game opened up a hefty debate.

Among those to respond were countless people who argued the bottles and cans could be kept aside for the kids and kept in a separate bag for them to collect.

“Why don’t you put them aside for the kids so they don’t have to go through your bin. Recycle bins don’t always actually get recycled. Good on them kids trying to make their own money,” a popular response read.

“Leave them in a tub next to your bin for kids to have. Kindness is always a good thing,” another agreed.

The original poster claimed he was concerned leaving them out would cause an odour and encourage others into collecting from his bin

“I honestly don’t want the smell of cans and bottles, they bring flies and rats also I have a waterfront property and don’t want to ruin my street by encouraging this type of thing,” he wrote in a comment.

While most of the hundreds of people to weigh in agreed he had no reason to be angry at kids collecting his unwanted recyclables, there was a minority who agreed people “shouldn’t go throug ya bin”.

“But if you’re only throwing them away, how about you bag them up instead and give them to the kids so they can get some cash,” one wrote.

Others were puzzled over why he seemed so self-conscious about what was going in his bin.

“What are you eating or drinking that’s so bad it’s making you so worried about it being seen by others?” someone responded.

“Going through your garbage bags is a different story. As long as they’re not leaving any mess … it might be best to leave it alone,” another added.

Some simply encouraged the man to “get a life”.

Despite some members of the public making a bit of extra cash by collecting unwanted bottles and cans from their neighbours’ bins, doing so is actually illegal in Australia.

The contents of bins are private property when within the parameters of a household, then once the bins are put out for collection, the contents become the property of the council.

Cans and bottles taken by members of the public would therefore be considered lost council revenue.

Originally published as Community debates over divisive recycling bin complaint

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