Every Monday morning I put out my recycling and grit my teeth. I hate it. I am all for the saving of the planet and its natural resources. It is the little industrious man in the brand new Toyota Sienna Minivan taking the aluminum from my and all of my neighbors' recycling bins a block ahead of the city’s recycling truck. The way I see it, if I had put my cans in with my trash because I was lazy or didn’t care about the environment then he would have every right to take the cans from my garbage container. But since I sort the recyclables and put them in a bin specifically for the recycling truck, I believe he is stealing as well as harming the environment. Here is why: The aluminum(arguably the most expensive item in the recycling bins) is used to offset the cost of my refuse bill. Without the aluminum, it may cost more to pick up the recycling than the materials themselves. If the city loses money, my bills go up. Second, by having both his minivan and the city truck stopping at every recycle bin in my neighborhood, he is putting more carbon in the atmosphere by burning fossil fuels.
I am sure every neighborhood in America has one of these “canners” and if they picked up the cans that were in the ditches or even in the garbage cans themselves I have no issue with it as they are helping recover more cans. But taking cans that would have been recycled from the recycling bins is just plain wrong. Now, would you call the police to report this crime? Individually, my cans are only small change every week. But if I estimated that everyone in my neighborhood recycled as many cans as I did, this recycler makes more on Monday than I make all week. And there are other pickup days in other parts of the city. If I wasn’t morally opposed to stealing, I’d be rich. So, give me some ideas on what we can do to stop these thieves.
I would say the only solution would be to make this kind of thing illegal. Here's my idea - the city should make the recycling bins seal-able. Once the cans are sealed into your container, they are "yours" and the guy in the minivan is stealing if he removes them. That way the man in the minivan is encouraged to find cans on the side of the road and not found in sealed containers.
I would not mind as much if he took all the recyclables because then he would save the city from having to pick them up and the paper and plastic would make it to the recycle center. It is him picking out just the most valuable items.
I take that back he should he to pay me for sorting the cans into the right bin.