I read this at On The Level….
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 don’t have any sympathy for this line of argument. Trash pickup should be for trash pickup. If you are not willing to throw it out don’t put it out. And if you are willing to throw it out, don’t worry about who is picking it up. This is like somebody complaining that they left a bag full of soda cans out for the garbage man and someone else came by and turned them in for a redemption. If it is not worth it to take care of it yourself, don’t worry about it.
If this person was that worried about rising refuse bills, he could save his own aluminum up for year and turn it in for cash himself. That would offset his rising bill. Back when aluminum was cheap, nobody was doing this. But when aluminum was cheap, how could the city use it to off set the garbage bills? I don’t see how he has any real right to complain.
I suspect that his concerns about having a minivan and a city truck stopping at every recycling bin in the neighborhood is also bogus. Extra weight increase fuel consumption so by having less weight the recycling truck will save some energy. This will partially offset the minivan. Moreover, the recycling center will have to additional material handling to get the aluminum to where it needs to go. Our industrious little man is probably taking it directly where it needs to go. So on the whole, I suspect that it is a wash. I don’t have any proof, but then neither does he.