What Would You Do if Neighbours Put Cardboard in Your Council Recycling Bin The Night before Collection?

Just curious what Ozbargainers will do. I've placed some cardboard in a neighbour's bin a couple times the night before collection when their bin looked empty while ours was overflowing. One time, the following morning, they took the cardboard out and placed it on our front lawn.


  • +27

    A good neighbour would ask first before putting rubbish of any description in someone else's bin, unless they already have an agreement in place.

    I've shared my bins with a number of neighbours, but we are on a friendly first name basis and chat to each other.

    • But do you have an iron clad agreement?

    • +4

      would you really want someone knocking on your door and taking up your time just to do some extra recycling at the expense of your bin space? Imagine having the balls to say no too

  • +22

    It isn't clear from OP if the neighbour used their (own) bin to put more cardboard in, after it had been put out on the roadside. Finding your bin full with stuff from others is not good if you still have your own stuff to put in it.
    And before anyone chimes in about when a bin is 'out' and potentially 'available for others to use', I will sometimes put out my bin when I get home, and then find other stuff to go out later in the evening.

    Maybe the neighbour was concerned about contaminants being placed in their bin; our council does spot checks and gives warnings if items are in the wrong bins.

    If I were OP, I'd apologise to the neighbour next time I see them and have a chat. Friendly neighbours make life so much more enjoyable.

  • -3

    That's poor form by the neighbor it sounds. I'm of the ilk I couldn't care less if it's not overfilled nor contaminated, at least it's not IN THE STREET/ CREEK/ PARK ect… what diques… I love the idea of reporting the littering but that sounds like a bomb of effort and probably no result. I'd prob. ask them directly but politely if I overstepped by recycling and keeping the neighborhood free of litter, and that I apologise I didn't ask first and if it would be a problem moving forward? However by their passive aggressive turn they would probably give some weak lip service then do something else to be annoying most likely. In hindsight if this situation occurs again use the other neighbors bin, but perhaps ask? Then if you get a chance to explain why you are asking about it explain you inadvertently stepped on toes by trying to not litter and recycle and just wanted to be neighborly and check?
    Then throw and egg or something at the original neighbor (Joking… maybe don't do that last bit ;) )

  • +28

    I'm sorry OP but you're commenting back on people's comments implying you want to exact revenge or complain against them. Are you serious?

    A little manners goes a long way. Its unspoken common courtesy that you ask a neighbour if you can place your rubbish in their otherwise underutilised bins (and perhaps offer to wheel them back in for them as a way of thanks) before doing so. By the way you're conveying yourself you seem to think that you're in some way entitled to do so.

    Explain to them why you might have extra quantities of rubbish (new household goods/ too many kids). Get their number and shoot them a text before doing so, so that they're aware.
    Any reasonable neighbour would say yes without hesitation and would likely ask the same to you if they ever needed it.
    What if the neighbour had a large bit of rubbish to put out at the last minute and came to their bin filled by yourself. In that case I'd be putting it right where it belongs (your yard)

    Have I ever placed my rubbish in a neighbours bin without asking? Sure but maybe only a few times over the last 10 years, and only because mine was overflowing and I made sure to put as little as possible.
    What your neighbour did might not have been the most polite thing to do (maybe warning/talking to you first would've been better) but I can't say you didn't deserve it.

    There is also a valid reason for them not wanting to have others use their bins. Some councils are vigilant about weights and incorrect allocations of rubbish into their recycling bin and call/warn/fine residents for it, leaving them on the hook. Now you may be a considerate neighbour and ensure to do everything correctly but in their eyes you're a potential risk/doing something dodgy, esp. because you're not asking them for permission.

    For future reference just make sure you ask and get their permission. Respect their choice if they say no because in some ways you've eroded their trust.
    Neighbours are like family, you always want to be on good terms with them. When things go sour they'll get nasty.

    • +2

      Don't worry, despite his comments we all know he's not going to do s**t because he's a weak little man. That's why he's complaining about it anonymously on ozbargain and pretending to be a tough guy, in his mind. Probably apologized to the neighbour already and promised never to do it again

      • "pretending to be a tough guy, in his mind"

        Is this about you or me again? 😂

  • +6

    Whilst you don’t really own your wheelie bin, you shouldn’t touch other people’s stuff without asking.

    But if you think it’s okay to do this then don’t complain if your neighbour dumps their hard rubbish on your nature strip a few hours before collecting.

  • +1

    If its clean and I am not using the space, I don't really see a problem with it.

    Cardboard like an amazon box or a cut up fridge TV box would be harmless, at least they are disposing them in a right way.

  • +1

    one of the people in our street put non-recyclables in all our bins for about 2 months, which resulted in some bins not being collected & one neighbour getting a warning.
    before that started, no one minded as long as it was done correctly but now a few people are cranky about it & want to be asked first or only allow specific neighbours to do it.
    one neighbour puts it out but keeps filling it after, so we're only allowed to use it after a particular time.
    just have a word with them to agree on ground rules - most people are decent about this as we all find ourselves needing it at some stage.

    • +1

      It all gets sent to Indonesia though.

  • +6

    I don't care. My life has enough real problems that I don't go around looking for more.

    However, if they did something like overload the bin which resulted in it not getting emptied, then yeah I'd probably get a little pissed and dump the whole lot in their yard.

  • +19

    Once the bin is on the kerb it's fair game. I use the whole streets green bins when i go hard in the garden. Mind you, i'm friendly with all of the surrounding neighbours.

    Putting the cardboard box on your lawn is passive aggressive and a dick move by your neighbour. If they still needed to put something else in the bin(and assuming their additoinal recycling didnt fit in their bin after you used it), the whole street would have been lined with bins as an alternative.

    • This

    • +7

      Mind you, i'm friendly with all of the surrounding neighbours.

      Yep, you are known as the dude who uses everyone bins

      • +1

        All the kids in the neighbourhood point and stare "Mummy, is that the bad bad man?" "Yes Charlie, the baddest of men…."

    • +1

      OP should get a wood chipper and shred the box into confetti onto their lawn then use a leaf blower to make sure it can never be re-grouped

      • love the creativity of this idea. will report back.

    • +6


      Let's say I had more stuff to put in my bin, and someone filled it up (and this has happened before to me). I just find another bin in the street to to use.

      Sure it's an inconvenience but it takes a few minutes more to walk down the street.

      These games of guarding your bin and it's contents is so childish and pathetic. It's like these people have nothing better to do then to guard there bin. It's a bin FFS, and it's contents are not wanted, hence why its in the bin.

      Just don't overload it, or over weight it, easy.

    • +3

      Once the bin is on the kerb it's fair game.

      Our council is happy to fine you for using someone else's bin…

      • Is this a thing or are you just making things up?

        • Nope. If you tell the council, they will give them a warning. If they do it again, they will get fined.

    • +1

      judging by all the discussions in this post ozb seems to have conflicting opinions on what's considered a dick move here…

      • +13

        All your responses show you to be the douche

      • Most here consider you the dick.

  • +30

    From your replies, you come across a bad neighbor to be honest. Right thing to do would be to knock on his door and apologise. It's technically not your bin so you are not entitled to it.

    Being on bad terms with your neighbor sucks.

    • -23

      Sorry, I come across as a bad neighbour or I've come across a bad neighbour?

      • +20

        Oh okay you've resorted to being a gammar nazi. Good luck with the neighbour mate.

        • +1

          I don't think op is a woman

        • -2

          was genuinely confused. not sure where all this animosity came from. chillout

          • -4

            @waterbottled: Maybe you're being downvoted by people who are so egotistical that they believe someone putting rubbish in their bin is a mortal sin. People need to get a sense of perspective. We live in a society! Love thy neighbour and all that. As gandhi said, A bin for a bin and the world will fill up with rubbish, or something to that effect.

            What's more of a travesty is how much of that rubbish actually ends up getting recycled? Not much from my understanding.

            • @tedzr: The neighbourly thing would be to have a conversation first, but I guess that's to confrontational for most. A conversation goes a long way and at least shows consideration.

              • -1

                @Yawhae: Uh huh. Yeah sure. A bit of cardboard in the middle of the night and wake up to find it on your lawn with the bins empty on the streets. Sounds like their neighbor is perfectly reasonable. Haha. You guys suck for negging me. Group think at its finest. Honestly expected no less. We all know the world revolves around conversation and infuriated naval gazing. Not action. It never ceases to amaze me how many furious toddlers there are out there paying rates. Here's an idea. Maybe the neighbours should have knocked on OP's door to have a conversation about why they don't want him putting stuff in their bin, assuming isn't telepathic and didn't realise the severity of his actions. But neighbour is just too considerate for that obviously. Puhleaassee! Give me a break people. It's not as if he stuffed it full of shit on Tuesday morning AFTER the collection.

                • +2

                  @tedzr: No, the world doesn't revolve around conversation. That's why the neighbour took action and dumped the cardboard right back where it belongs.

                  OP already admitted its an ongoing thing. Not just a one off. We also don't know how much cardboard he put in. Maybe it filled up the bin to the point where the owners couldn't fit their own stuff in. Maybe he has some weird sexual cardboard fetish where the cardboard had pictures of d**ks all over them and it was inappropriate and embarrasing for the owner of the bin

                  And no, neighbour doesn't have to talk to the OP about it. He dumped the cardboard back on the lawn which clearly communicated enough of a message for OP to come here and have a cry about it

  • +6

    Few times a year? Don't really care.

    Almost every week? I would be annoyed, but I may not mind it if the neighbour asked first.

    • +4

      Yeah, like OP couldn't wait two weeks for the next cycle or squish his rubbish a bit.

      • -3

        not sure where those incorrect assumptions came from.

        • +4

          @waterbottled, probably from the same gutter where you thought your neighbour is "probably a biss"

  • +2

    Always ask before dumping garbage in someone else's bin. My neighbours and I regularly allow each other to use other's garbage, recycling and/or green bin. We just text each other as a courtesy, also allowing us a chance to say no (in case more of our own garbage was yet to be deposited in the bins). It depends on how you get along with your neighbours.

  • +2

    I do it all the time, can’t see the harm if its already on the street

  • +8

    A nearby neighbor who lives around the corner came into my yard and put a bunch of stuff in my recycling bin, a full day before pickup. Of course I dumped it back on his overflowing bin.

  • +1

    Cardboard is OK, no need to ask.

    A neighbour couple doors down, puts shit in my bin, and by shit, i mean stuff with maggotts and then washes her bin out with the shit on my nature strip.

    I then have to wash my bin out and sterilise it every other week, and stuff like that, i freeze and put in the night it goes out.

    Protected Immigrant, so I'll be labelled racist if i complain.

    • +2

      I'm trying to think what nationality is a Protected Immigrant?

      As a Immigrant myself it's got nothing to do with race.

    • +1

      The fact that you bought up her immigration status as part of the issue… kinda makes you sound a little bit racist.

      There are arseholes in every corner of the world. This is indisputable.

  • +6

    All good with me.

    Once my bin is out for collection, I don't really care if they fill it up as long as it's in the right bin.

    I've also filled up my neighbours' bins with recycling and waste at like midnight. Never asked for permission though, doubt they would appreciate being woken up at midnight.. haha

    I'm on ok terms with them all i.e. wave when I see them.

    • +1

      I wouldn't be impressed if I had more to throw in.

      Common courtesy goes a long way.

      • +2

        Lucky for you I'm not your neighbour.

        I'm not filling them up to the brim. Plus it's midnight and the bin gets collected before sunrise.

        • +1

          I share a driveway with a neighbour so it's a bit easier to chat about. No issues in principle but it's good to receive advance warning.

    • For me it'd be a no unless there is a conversation beforehand, I put my bin out the day before when I get home from work but I don't take the rubbish out until the following morning. Bin gets collected at 6am and I'm filling it up just beforehand.

      • I wouldn't fill it up to the brim, I'd leave room for one or two bags.

        If a neighbour filled my one up and I had one bag to toss out, I wouldn't be upset about it. It's more energy to get upset about it than to walk one or two houses down the street to find an empty bin.

        • Ah yes, because a neighbour filled my bin, I must now go put my rubbish in someone else's bin…

        • I mean…i'm sure you knew your bin was full before midnight. Not sure why you wouldn't ask your neighbour during the day or earlier on. Seems a bit strange you suddenly realised you had all this rubbish lying around at that very last second.

          I think the point is, if you did it and your neighbour arked up about it by putting your rubbish back on your property, they have that right to do so, and you don't have the right to have a whinge about it - because its not your property

          If no repercussion and all smiles from the neighbour - then all good

  • +3

    I'm surprised they took your cardboard out.

    When they are over for their next visit, or when you are over at theirs for the monthly dinner party, or if it can wait for the streets Christmas party have a little chat with them.

  • +1

    they might have needed the space, so that's why they took your stuff out lol.

    • +1

      or maybe they didnt and they are just that type of person.

  • +5

    My neighbour keeps putting their cardboard in our bin. She also sometimes parks outside my house when there is plenty of room in the street but I am not really minding that.

    They say hello to my husband when he is playing outside with our kids but the wife never speaks to me. Perhaps she is a biss?

    One time I got tired of them not asking if they could use our bin and I returned their cardboard.

  • You can recylce cardboard - via council pickup,

    dont need to annoy the neighbours every week

  • +6

    Whether the neighbour cares or not and what you think doesn't matter, it's rude to touch or use other peoples things without asking.

    • -1

      Is it their property? In Brisbane it is property of Brisbane City Council. When it's damaged, they come and fix/ replace it.

      So when it's out on the footpath, seems to be it's there for public convenience.

      Tip: Bring your bin in promptly coz the neighbour's reckon it's better to put dog's terds in someone else's bin.

      • Is it their property

        Can you wheel someones elses any council bin down the road next to your another council bin?

        • -1

          sure…. I have no idea what that question means nor how it's relevant??

          are you asking can you take bins from other properties and keep them yourself?
          That would probably be frowned upon.

          • @SlickMick:

            are you asking can you take bins from other properties and keep them yourself?
            That would probably be frowned upon.

            Yes, but it's councils property? Still available for public convenience.

            • -1

              @Ughhh: sure, but the most convenient is for each property to have 1 bin.

              It might be convenient for you to have multiple bins, but it would be less so for those who have to come over to your place to throw trash.
              But if that's what's convenient for your weird street, go for it.

              I presume I'm being trolled here, or at least certainly don't understand what point you're trying to make. Whichever, I think this subject has had all the effort it warrants, so I'm out now.

              • @SlickMick: Probably best to just not touch or use other peoples things (property and allocated property) without asking.

  • Don't do it anymore, they don't know why you need so many cardboard also everyone scare some illegal thing put in their bins, especially now council random checking what thing inside the bin, you can bring the cardboard back to company for packing etc.

  • +1

    As long as it’s the right bin I don’t care I said to my neighbour if you have excess rubbish just drop it my bin no worries!

    • ah cooperation in the community. Maybe we have hope yet

  • +1

    Someone filed up my recycle bin with their rubbish this week as the rubbish is only collected every other week now and this is an off week. So my bin was contaminated and I have no idea which of my lovely neighbors did it.

    • Did you leave it our all week or did neighbours come into your yard to use your bin?

      If that were okay, it would be okay to help yourself to their swimming pool, right?

  • +1

    I do it all the time, sometimes multiple bins down the street haha

    Bit cheeky but I really don't think many people care if your only using up their empty space anyway, and not overfilling or putting the wrong things in.

    I would go speak to the neighbor who returned your cardboard. Just say you noticed they had returned your cardboard, sorry about that, I didn't think you would mind, mine was full, won't do it again etc

    • +1

      How is this cheeky? It's just a sensible use of space/time/council bin collection schedules/your own energy that makes not a single person's life worse and if anything, probably better, because you are contributing to an overall cleaner street. This is normal and commendable, not cheeky

  • +5

    I couldn't care less if someone uses my bin the night before collection.

    As long as they don't make a mess or overflow it.

    Your neighbours are jerks!

  • +2

    Wouldn't care in the slightest, though we put our bins out once we've emptied the inside bins to it so we don't need any more space. If it was too full for their own recycling then maybe I'd understand, otherwise pretty ridiculous.

  • That's some major lack of boundaries. They pay for their garbage collection, while you pay for yours. By placing yours in theirs, you kind of avoid paying excess on your bit, while taking advantage of their bin without asking.

    It is really not that much different from having a picnic on their lawn when they are not home - they don`t need it, because they are not home, right? Wrong - it is their property, and unless you were given their consent, you should not do that.

    • +1

      Not sure how the two are related, but ok.

      BTW, bins are the property of the council and technically when it's on the council strip or road it's not on your property.

      So by the same token you would be upset if someone walking by put a doggy pop bag in your bin which was on the street?

      • +4

        The two are related by a sense of boundaries, or lack of them.

        Sure, bins are a council property, but you pay for them per your property. You cannot get out of that fee.
        Now, if someone just randomly helps himself to the volume of your bin, that you expect to be exclusive to you because you are forced to pay for it anyway, where does that leave us?

        About the dog poo bags - sure would not be ok to have them thrown in my bin, since the bags you use to collect them are biodegradable - a bit of water from the rain, and suddenly I would have a smelly mess in the bin, that only I would be responsible for getting under control, since the dog owner would not come forward.

        • -3

          Really??? Are you serious? Pop bags don't biodegradable at the first drop off water.

          Also its a bin, do you eat out of it?

          I feel you are getting a bit petty. Council rates cover garbage services but someone adding a few extra pieces a few times a year is cents at best. You pay the same rates irrespective of you filling your bin to 100% or 1%.

          But I do think that if others were using my bin each and every week to avoid paying the second bin surcharge, then that's taking advantage.

          Maybe Australia should do what Europe does, a big bin every 50m or something. Some people are just too possessive of a stupid bin.

          • +1

            @mrhugo: Funny thing, I am originally from Europe. We normally use padlocks on our bins outside of family houses, just to prevent people from randomly adding their trash to our bins. Yes, you can call it being petty and possessive, but unless you act assertive in that regard, you suddenly have people using something that you pay for, without asking or saying thank you.

            Funny place, Europe ;)

    • I totally agree - we should be paying for garbage collection by weight and/ or volume.

  • +10

    Your neighbours are jerks. People do that in my street all the time, especially when it's the green waste or yellow recycling bin. No one cares, no one asks.

    We all need to get rid of our waste and it's better to just put it in someone else's bin then have an overflowing bin or store it for the next run in a week or fortnight.

    Heck, I've even had someone take my bin which was just emptied and filled it up and put it on their side before the truck came back down the street the other way. As I see it, the green bin is only emptied once a fortnight and this way they got two loads for run week. It was a big backyard clean up of green waste. After that they may not need the green bin for months.

    As long as people don't overweight or overload the bin, I don't give a f$#k.

  • +6

    If it's the night before and the bins are out…… go ahead, do it. It's going to be collected.

    What entitled neighbours, not like they're losing any emotional, finacial, time or anything from you doing this.

    My parents had a little hissy fit cause the next day when the bins were collected, one person put their ciggy box and mcdonalds trash in our bin. I was like "you're stressing and complaining over spilt milk, why are you even angry for? there are other things to be angry at and you chose rubbish which suppose to be in a rubbish bin that took up 1% of the space."

    • +1

      Yup, some people get stressed over something minor. Just chill. It's not costing you anything.

      Ask your parents, would the prefer the person to throw the city box and maccas trash on their natural strip or in their bin?

  • +3

    You sound like a "fun" neighbour. 100% I'd put in on your lawn.

  • +1

    If my bins are on the nature strip and there is space, I have no problems with it.

  • +3

    I’d rather people put stuff in the bin then just letting it fester in their yards etc. Midnight bin run when no one else is out and it’s all bagged up and going the next morning, who cares. I ask two neighbours for their green bin from time to time however. If someone put something in my bin on bin night I wouldn’t care. Just don’t use their bin again if they are weird like that.

  • +1

    OP was lucky they didn't get the cardboard put back through their front window, instead of politely returned to their front lawn.

    • +1

      gezz id hate to see what you would be like over something more significant than recycling

    • -1

      If that's your definition of luck, what would unlucky be? Murdered in cold blood?

  • +2

    The tips in vic are closed. Our neigbours just left a stove IN THE STREET last month. Of course no evidence but it was blocking traffic so council just collected it.

    Long story short. Squeaky wheels get the grease.

    • Like the folk tale of someone calling the cops and the cops saying their too busy. They then called again saying they just shot someone and boom, cops show up instantly.

  • +2

    We really need a poll.

    We have some recurring replies

    The group that thinks it's ok to use someone else's bin.

    The others that would prefer the courtesy of asking before.

    And the other get aggressive if someone used their bin without permission.

    TBH I'm so surprised that the third one is mentioned. I honestly didn't think people were that passionate and protective about their bin.

    • +2

      Some people are replying if it was their situation or as if Op is honest

      Others like myself have noted lack of detail and inconsistency and the immaturity of his responses ie childish pranks

      In the initial post he claims night before, then goes on to state a couple of hours before collection

      Somehow Neighbour noticed, was it a coincident or maybe their lounge faced the road, or maybe Op was very loud about it

      We don't know if it was just a couple of folded amazon boxes neatly folded and placed into the bin or a lot of cardboard badly folded and forced into the bin, that the nighbour couldn't place their evening rubbish into it

  • And the other get aggressive if someone used their bin without permission.

    I hope all these Cottonball Club Member's watch their bins all night to make sure nothing is added hehe :)

  • +5

    You might be able to do what I sometimes do if I can't fit everything in the bin.

    When the rubbish truck comes he usually does our side first. If I happen to be home, as soon as he empties our bin I go out there & fill it back up and take it across the other side of the street for when he returns about 5-10 minutes later.

    • Cool move :)

  • +1

    Generally never had an issue with neighbours using our recycling bin right before collection nor really care if someone else did, as long as it comes back empty for the week.

    But I had one person that wasn't even from our street stuff their massive shipping boxes into our bin right AFTER the collection, no notes or anything.
    The idiot didn't even tear off the shipping label or fold it property, literally shoved it in as is, came home from work with recycling bin half full already. Guess who got it all returned on their front lawn?

    Anyway if you're new to the area, I would ask first just to be safe.

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