Dear PoPville – Should the City Discount the Cost of a New Supercan if Yours Gets Stolen?

Dear PoPville,

I wanted to bring a certain situation to light involving the residential, city-issued green trash cans, or “Supercans.” It used to be that when one was stolen from you, you could file a police report and have another delivered for a discounted rate. Now, when one is stolen from you, it does not matter if you get a police report or not, the price to replace is $62.50. I neglected to get the exact policy date change, but was told that it changed over the last 2 years. (This, btw, I learned only after dutifully going to the police station and filing a report, being treated like an idiot throughout the process, only to learn that this action was completely ineffectual!)

But I started thinking, this is really messed up. I get stolen from. I have to spend $62.50. I can’t buy another, cheaper trash can. I have to use the city trash can. I can’t put my trash bags out without a trash can, I may get fined (nor would I prefer that, I mean who wants rats and the like). I can’t secure the can at all times to make sure it isn’t stolen again. I could get a new can, have it stolen tomorrow, and have to spend another $62.50.

I called the city trash office to voice my discontent with a supervisor there, whose name I unfortunately did not get, and he was, not to my surprise, thoroughly unhelpful and unsympathetic. After explaining the situation and how this might be an unfair burden on residents, he asked me what *I* would do to make it better. I first stated that although this sounded more like his job than mine, I did say that if they were going to charge so much for them and mandate that residents have & use them, perhaps they should use an RFID chip or other tracking device to recover them when they are stolen. Or at least, to not blame and penalize the citizen who has been stolen from. Repeatedly. Because this is the second time this has happened to me in the last few years (the first time the old policy was in place…though I didn’t know it…and paid the fee…perhaps why I’m so annoyed with having to do so again, so soon…).

I would love to hear thoughts on this! Nothin like bein robbed at xmas time…and then feeling double-robbed by our city.

92 Comment

  • Find out the name of the supervisor who was unhelpful. It should be posted here, so his superiors know. City officials need to be held accountable, and this blog can help do that.

  • I’ve seen plenty of people use non-dcpw issued cans. I’m not aware of any policy that states you must use a supercan.

  • I’ve had something similar happen. Often after trash removal, DPW does not put supercans back in front of the proper driveway. We’ve found ours two or three houses down regularly. A few months ago, this happened, and I was unable to locate the supercan. I asked DPW to replace it, and they said we would be charged the fee. I said it vanished because they did not put it back properly, but they said unless there is proof that a supercan’s disappearance is the fault of DPW, they do not do free replacements.

    • I have spray painted the heck out of my SuperCan with neon orange spray paint. I agree that they never ever put the trash can back in the proper place. It’s either at my neighbors on either side of me or the neighbors across the alley. What really pisses me off is that sometimes they leave it smack dead in the middle of my drive way, where I have to get out to move it in order to pull into my drive way.

      • + 100 – LOTS of spray paint.

        • They come with serial numbers printed on them, and those are registered to specific addresses, so that helps.
          But, yeah, you can also spray paint your address on them pretty easily.

          • Feh. No one pays attention to those serial numbers. I know my neighbor who keeps grabbing my recycle can doesn’t. Of course, he (they) also ingore the big house numbers and the marking tape on the can too.

            You gotta make your can easy to recognize so you can steal it back from your neighbor’s yard, and have a good case when they catch you. “Look, see it has my house number on it! Does this look like your house number?”

            I’m thinking about bedazzling my recycle bin as soon as I get my hands on a glue gun.

  • So we had ours stolen and we use a “supercan” we use a cheap round can. But yes I wish we could get the bigger ones at a discount after filing a report.

  • OP, I’m assuming you don’t have a fenced backyard or something similar… is there any way you can chain your Supercan to something to prevent someone from running off with it?

    For what it’s worth, I thought the D.C. government website stated that you had to use D.C.-issued trash cans… but two of my neighbors don’t, and both seem to get their trash picked up with no problems. (One uses an Oscar the Grouch-style metal trash can, and another uses a big Rubbermaid trash can that’s shaped pretty much like a D.C. trash can.)

  • Unpleasant situation, but imagine what the alternative would be: a pipeline of subsidized supercans paid for by your taxes! If your iPad gets stolen, Apple won’t replace it for you, either.

    Maybe if you replace it, you can spraypaint a bunch of dorky things on it, or otherwise mark it so that it’s unusable to thieves.

    • If your iPad gets stolen, Apple won’t replace it for you, either.

      This.

      • Except no one is requiring you to own an iPad. As the letter writer noted, he is stuck having to get the supercan (although according to other posters, that might not be the case).

        • ah

          Unlike iPads, are these stolen SuperCans ending up in Russia with the thief getting massive profits? No–they’re ending up on another block for the use of someone whose can is broken or was stolen by someone else. Theft would stop if there were an adequate supply of the cans, but there’s not because it’s such a hassle to get a new one.

      • Nor are you required to leave your iPad outside all day.

    • I think the frustration comes from the fact that you can take steps to protect your iPad, but you’re at the mercy of other people when you leave your trash can out where it can indeed be taken by whoever sees it when you are at work. There is something annoying about having to pay that ridiculous fee over and over again because the trash guys misplace it or because the cans are such an easy theft target. But then again, we do choose to live in a place where that kind of theft happens, so I guess we have to pay the price for that decision… Life is not fair.

      • Frankie James

        I am so sick of that comment – we have to “pay the price” for that decision.

        Why not roll over and play dead and while your at it,,, just give them your cans.

        Really add a productive idea and stop whimping out loud people… the price we pay is our taxes.

  • I took a sharpie and wrote my address on all four sides. Inside I wrote that it is bad karma to steal someone’s can. So far it has worked!

    • trashcans also have serial numbers. write down serial number.

      • Then what? DPW sucks! I’ve complained about how some of my neighbors leave their cans out all day everyday in front of my garage. I’ve even called my counsel’s office and was told in so many words that nothing could be done. I also had my can taken years ago and was able to get a new one before they started charging for replacements.

        • While I know and agree that cans are not supposed to be left out after the day of pick up, you ACTUALLY called your council-member’s office over neighbors that don’t put their cans back? Seriously, you may need to get a grip. Wow.

          • Absolutely Brent! Because it was making it difficult for me to put my trash out. I have a garage with doors that slide. If you place multiple cans,in the way in which the door slides, it makes it hard for me to open the door. Also, did you know that DPW can ticket you for not placing your can back on your property?

  • It sucks that your can was stolen but maybe this should be a wake up call that you need to take steps to help ensure that your supercan isn’t stolen in the future. Spraypaint or etch your address on all sides of the can in large visible numbers. Try to bring your can in as soon as possible after it has been emptied.

    • That’s the key! Taking your can in as soon as possible. The cans aren’t suppose to stay in the alley or on the street. They are supposed to be placed in your yard before end of day on pick-up days.

      • Yeah, that’s really easy….oh wait, I have a job and am not in my house all day long waiting for the garbage truck.

        Our can was stolen by the folks renovating the house we bought, before we bought it. The neighbors saw them do it. DPW said we were SOL unless we filed a police report. A police report for a garbage can? Are you kidding me? What a waste of city resources.

        • But that’s the point the OP is making – previously, if you filed a police report, you could get the can replaced. Now, it doesn’t matter if you do or if you don’t, you are still out $62.

          • And you don’t find that former policy a huge waste of important city resources? I’d like to save my phone calls to the police for when my drunken neighbor exposes himself while peeing on my sidewalk.

            See pdmtp’s comment at the end. I’m with him (her.)

      • Omg, I don’t think Fitness821 was saying that you need to take your can back onto your property immediately after trash pickup.

        You’re allowed to have your can out between 6 p.m. the night before trash pickup day until 8 p.m. the day of pickup. So it’s a 26-hour window.

  • T

    It seems to me that they should sell the cans at cost – and that may well be $62.50 (have you ever tried to buy one of the large rolling cans at Home Depot and the like? They are not cheap).

    I know I’ll be accused of “blaming the victim,” but:
    1. Have you marked your can (i.e., spray painted your # and Street)?
    2. Do you routinely pull your cans back in after collection?
    3. Where do you keep your cans?

    Many of my neighbors refuse to pull their cans onto their property, ever. They just leave them perpetually along the sides of the alley, making it difficult for cars and other vehicles to pass. I wouldn’t be surprised (or sympathetic) if their can got stolen.

    You should treat your trash can like any other piece of your property (even though it is probably technically owned by DPW).

  • The other thing is that the Supercans usually have a serial number on them somewhere – and you’re supposed to keep track of your can’s number. This is also so they can track your can to your residence if you fill it with oil or paint, etc.

    What really sucks is the person who stole your can is likely filling it with shit they stole from the area – at least that’s what I learned from the drunks on the corner of Benning/19th NE

  • My neighbors in Bloomingdale just throw their trash bags in the public trash cans on Rhode Island and North Capital when they think nobody is looking. Works for them….. It is nothing to see 10 + garbage bags piled up by them weekly.

  • So how do people secure their cans? Mine is in the alley, and needs to stay in the alley. Neither I nor any of my neighbors in the alley have fences or anything to bring the can behind.

    I guess I could chain it to….something? But that would still mean that I’d have to unchain it on trash day. And it’s on trash day that most of the ones that go missing in the alley disappear.

    • Do you have a deck you could bring it on or a basement you could wheel it into? Chaining/unchaining might be your only other option although you’re right that it will probably not help much.

      • No deck. If given the alternative of bringing a smelly old supercan into the house or risking it being stolen, I’ve chosen to leave it unsecured and just hope that the house number markings are enough to dissuade theft (although I don’t imagine that’s very effective).

        I just wonder how people who seem to be blaming the OP for not “tak[ing] steps to help ensure that your supercan isn’t stolen in the future” suggest a can be secured when there is no “inside” to take it.

    • T

      You are not allowed to leave your can in the alley. It is your problem– not the city’s–to figure out where to store it.

  • $62.50…really? You really went to all of that trouble, going to the police station, filing reports, spending time yelling at a wall with Public Works, emailing the blogosphere all because of a $62 dollar trash can?

    What did you expect them to do? Put out an APB for your trash can?
    How do they know it was stolen? I’ve seen people throw their old can away because it was beat to hell (they kept hitting it with their car as they entered and exited their garage), then call up and get a new one (before they started charging for cans a few years ago).

    Even if it was stolen, why is it someone elses responsibility to buy you a new one? If your bike was stolen, you wouldn’t expect DDOT to buy you another would you?

    Then, after you complained about the cost, you recommended they make them cost infinitely more by lo-jacking all of them so they can be found from orbit if stolen?

    You live in a city, it is part and parcel of it. If you live in an area of town where trash cans are a stealable commodity, I suggest you start chaining it up in between pick up days, or doing what everyone else seems to do and paint their can an obnoxious and obvious color, or put your address on it so it is obviously not someone elses. If you’ve lived here for more than 6 months, you have to know anything not locked down on or around your house in certain sections of town WILL take a walk.

    • joker, to some people, 62.50 is a lot of money, especially when you are replacing something that someone else took. This is what PoPville is for, people can come and complain or ask about things, even if it seems ridiculous to others.

      On another path, since I’ve seen people refer to you as someone in this community who knows a lot, could you please take a look at my question re: 14th street commercial zone for home owners? Although it is originally posted in the forum section (I am not the OP), my question is asked in the thread under today’s forums. I’d like to know. Thanks

    • So you don’t think there’s a difference between an item of personal property (a bicycle) and something that the city mandates that you a) have; and b) buy from the city?

      I can’t imagine making a fuss if we could go out and get whatever trash can suits our household needs, but that’s not an option – it has to be in a city can.

      • I think it’s reasonable that the city requires a certain can. It (ostensibly) means a well-built can (not a Home Depot cheap-o special that will fall apart in a week) that is compatible with the city’s equipment. I know the SuperCans do fall apart and the trash guys don’t necessarily use the truck’s lifters to pick up the cans, but I get the point.

      • It is a city mandated can, because it has a lift bar designed on it so the trucks can lift it.

        It still doesn’t change the fact that it is YOUR can, and up to you to maintain and protect if necessary. The DMV mandates I use their license plate, but if it is stolen, or falls off my car, I still have to pay for another.

        As for the money issue, I find it incredibly hard to believe anyone who can afford to buy and own SFH real estate in the District of Columbia, and who likely patronizes all the local jaunts that charge 5 bucks for a PBR, can’t “really” afford $62 bucks for a trash can. If ones finances are that strained, I am suprised they can pay the water or electricty bill.

    • Typical self-righteous attitude. Thanks for adding absolutely nothing constructive to this discussion.

  • Had the same thing happen two years ago and then got a fine with a photo of my old can, out somewhere in the city, attached. This was despite having reported the can stolen. And yes, the can was well spray painted with my address- obviously the person trolling the alley was too lazy to check that they were on an entirely different street, or that the can had been taken.
    Never could find out where the photo was taken to retrieve it myself. I did fight the ticket and was absolved.
    Wanted to add that part of the problem is some of the trash collectors who routinely leave cans a half block or more from their pick up.

    • Those littering citations are nuts and completely bogus. A neighbor in my condo got one because a mattress was disposed of in an alley beside the building next to ours. His name shows up first in the tax rolls for our building, so _he_ got the citation. Totally crazy.

  • Just take a photo of you serial number and paint your number on the can. FWIW, DPW are major jerks about the cans–they ran mine over and it was completely unusable, when I asked for a replacement they asked for proof that they ran it over. I described the damage and sent photos of the cans (obviously a heavy vehicle smashed it) and the tire tracks on my property. I had to be a real PITA but I got a new can, free. Which rats promptly chewed right through.

  • While this is frustrating, I have to laugh that the OP really _couldn’t_ come up with any viable alternatives. Tracking down lost trash cans with RFID or GPS or something? Not only would that be time consuming and probably impossible, do you really think you could get a tracking-equipped trash can for $62?! And that leads me to another point: these trash cans probably _are_ subsidized already (or sold at cost like another poster mentioned). I doubt you could procure a similarly-built can for that little. Chalk it up to “life’s a bitch.” If this last happened to you two years ago, it’s cost you $2.61 a month. I think the trash fee is like around $100 a year, so you’re paying about $10/month for trash removal (including the new can every two years). Not bad, in perspective.

    • Maybe GPS in a can is an cost-prohibitive remedy, but is there any reason that DPW can’t stamp the can’s serial number on the outside? Yes, we can all mark our own bins with the serial number if we wish, but if all cans were marked it would be harder for anyone to pretend it’s theirs.

      • The bins do come stamped with a very visible unique serial number. Note in the picture in the post, it’s the white text on the front of the green can.

    • Actually, a passive RFID tag probably costs something like $0.10. Might not add much value over the serial number, but stores do seem to find them helpful for keeping track of merchandise.

  • On my block it’s a round of “musical bins” every week when they get put out – we’re about two trash bins and four recycling bins short, and I noticed often people would bring back bins when they hadn’t put anything out the night before. I asked a neighbor who I saw doing that (and I know it wasn’t their bin because it was mine – the side of my bin had been stained by something I threw away a few weeks beforehand) and they said that someone had stolen their bin the week before, so they were just taking an extra one back to replace it. I said it was my bin, and they pointed out that it actually says right on the side of the bin that it is the property of the District and that they had as much a right to use it as anyone else in the city.

    So, I waited and stole it back the next week, and went to Home Depot, bought myself some stencils and some neon pink spray paint, and put my house numbers on all four sides of my bins and the lids and spray painted a bright pink “racing stripe” along the upper edge. That didn’t even deter people from taking them – over the last few months, when my bins weren’t on the curb the morning after trash pickup, I just walked the block, and when I spotted my bright pink racing stripes, I walked right into the front yard of the thieves (it’s been several different houses that took it over time) and took it right back. One man yelled at me for taking his bag of trash out and putting it in the spot where the bin had been – I pointed out that it is *incredibly* obvious that this bin, of all the bins on the block, did not belong to him. It belonged to me. And that I was taking my bin back. He actually tried to tell me he hauled a bin that’s at least 50% florescent pink halfway up the block and never noticed the numbers on it.

    The problem is that the city makes you pay for the bins. If yours goes missing, since they all look exactly the same, if you didn’t mark yours in some way to say it was yours, you probably just steal a neighbors bin without even realizing that it isn’t yours. This goes on in a cycle on trash days until finally a neighbor who ends up with no bin calls the city and pays for a new one. A certain number of bins get destroyed each year – they blow into streets and get crushed by cars, etc. And a certain number of bins just get stolen. Someone has one bin but wants two, etc.

    So I agree – if the city is going to force residents to use a specific bin, they should provide them. If they won’t provide them for free (or for a nominal charge, say $15 each), they should let you use any bin you want.

  • What I wonder is why they still say Property of DC if residents have to buy them?

    And shouldn’t DPW be liable for replacement if their rough handling of the cans cause damage like tearing the lid off?

    • ah

      1) They are the property of DC, but each owner is essentially given a no-rent lease to the can for so long as they own/rent the property to which it has been assigned. Like any lease/rental, if you break/lose it you are responsible for replacement.

      2) The city will, after much harassment, replace/repair supercans for free.

  • I wish DC would issue large bins for recycling and smaller bins for trash!

      • ah

        +2, which is the number of additional recycling bins I ordered and received free of charge.

        Most weeks my recycling bins are full and supercan at best half full. I feel somewhat bad I have that much to recycle, but better that it’s recycled than dumped.

  • They were free up until 2010.

    For what it’s worth, they are really nice trash bins. Much nicer than anything you can buy at the hardware store.

    I believe that the price they sell them for is the cost.

    Many of my neighbors have no bins, but the trash people still pick up their trash.

    If you see bulk trash or illegal dumping in your alley and you have an iphone, the DC 311 app is amazing. So easy to report the problem and the DPW comes out and fixes it. Kudos to them for that.

  • Same thing happened to me a year or two ago. Eventually I got a replacement free of charge. I called back everyday for a couple of weeks until they finally agreed to send a new one out (which was delivered to my neighbor instead). Good luck and definitely be friendly and nice. Being a smarty-pants, bad-attitude person while asking for a favor never works (even if the lack of customer service is maddening). Smother them in sweet and fake stupid and keep asking the same questions about how you don’t understand the policy, etc., etc. Basically wear them down until they cave. Negotiations 101.

    • LOL, I do the same thing. It’s the only way I can get through the DMV in a reasonable amount of time while everyone else waits – play dumb, turn up the saccharine, and always say “Thank you, ma’am” and “No problem, sweetie” or “Can you please help me, I need your expertise.”

      For DC municipal workers, messing with the rich interlopers (read: white folks) is a traditional past time. You just got to roll with it and turn on the charm.

      • “No problem, sweetie” doesn’t sound charming to me. But, hey, if it works for you, good for you.

        • Well, it’s all about context. Would I say that to a judge in municipal court? No. But if the lady at the DMV is calling mye”honey”, then yeah I can call her “sweetie”. And she’ll laugh at it, we’ll mix it up a bit, I’ll profusely thank her, ask a few questions, and I’ll be out of there in 20 minutes while you’re sitting there for an hour.

          A little bit of respect, humanity, and personality goes a long way. If you treat municipal workers like automatons, instead of human beings, they’ll treat by-the-book with no leeway. Treat them like individuals who possess specialized knowledge, then you’ll get MUCH better service (and they might even bend the rules a bit!)

          You

          • I do get what you’re saying but why not be kind and respectful all the time instead of a context-by-context basis? I’m not trying to give you a hard time, though.

          • I agree with you, but most people aren’t like that with municipal workers. Especially people who see themselves as “better” than the people who work at the DMV or the department of sanitation. And this city has a LOT of people with those attitudes.

            Also, the idea of showing “respect” manifests in different ways depending on the context of where you are and who you’re talking with. Everyone wants to be respected for their knowledge and skills. If you show that respect to city workers, you can often find yourself getting better service and faster resolutions.

          • Okay, you’ve had some back and forth since I first clicked on this thread, and said some of the same things I would have, but here goes.

            Although there is no one size fits all, and you have to ‘read the room’, so to speak, in any interaction like this, my general rule of thumb is to be a real hardass with private sector companies, and just be respectful and patient with government agencies. For-profit companies usually want your business, and don’t want to lose a customer, while you can’t choose your DMV, or trash pickup (in DC0, or water company.

  • That’s a good idea to photo the serial number and your whole labeled can. I put stickers on my can. And what’s so bad about having to unlock a chained can on garbage day? I have to unchain my gate to put them out. Actually, we all take bigger hits from parking enforcement in our neighborhoods.

  • We learned our lesson when the construction crew down the street appropriated our Supercan and those of several of our neighbors. We were lucky to get it back, I think the police paid them a visit. After that, we took a very large Sharpie and wrote our address on the can. No problems since then.

  • 1. Trash can always has the opportunity to be stolen from the night before trash day (when it must be put out, since sometimes the come earrrrly) until the following evening (or whenever) when resident gets home from work, etc. no matter if it is secured at all other times. AND my friends, that’s prime stealin’ time I do believe…it’s empty then.

    2. My trash can had house address white spray painted on it in about 4 different locations

    3. This is the second time in recent times that I will have to pay the fee

    4. The point I attempted to make, and was better expressed in some of the commenters, that there is this weird public/private thing about the cans. They are required, yet they are not our property, yet we have to pay for them if they are stolen again and again and again.

    5. I understand the saccharine psychology. Sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn’t, depends on your mood, skills, etc. and those of the person you are dealing with. Someone would have to have some mad skills in order to get around this rule because it sounds to me like this is a pretty hard and fast policy; all employees cited it.

    6. So, anyone who has an extra $62.50 in the bank shouldn’t complain? How about next week when it happens again? Ludicrous. Whether you have the money or you don’t, we all have other things we could be spending it on. especially when it is a REPEATED occurrence.

    7. Ha. yeah maybe no RFID’s, whatever. thus my point about “why are you asking me isn’t that something your department should seriously think about and work out.” But the current solution is not a fair or right solution at all.

    8. The vitriol from some of the replies is enlightening about the type of community we apparently live in:-/ yikes.
    Happy Holidays all.

    • well, hey. These people also voted for the people that are charged with running these agencies. What did you expect? I’m frankly tired of people defending the DC gov status quo of incompetence, disrespect for the PEOPLE THEY ARE CHARGED WITH SERVING. Yeah, serving the populace. Not the other way around. That’s the difference between gov and private sector.

      • The head of DPW is not elected.

        And for what it’s worth, I’d be willing to bet that most PoPville posters did not vote for Vincent Gray, the current head of the D.C. government’s executive branch.

        • Reminds me of R-Money’s post-election comment that he won the white male vote. Congrats, that gets you far. Even if it is true that most PoP visitors did not vote for Gray, most DC voters did, and that’s what counts.

      • And, what exactly, do you do in the private sector that makes you god’s gift to the world?

    • Mad skills?… I has it!

  • Yes, the super cans should be plentiful and free to end users to discourage the theft of them (as someone noted, these dont go for a lot on ebay, so theyre being stolen for personal use).

    The issue for me isnt the cost, but the inability to get an approved receptacle in a timely fashion. The easier and cheaper they are to obtain the less premium they have and therefore the less attractive they are as a target of theft.

    They should be paid for through property taxes, maybe even a special annual assessment based on the number the city uses in a given year.

    Not only is it frustrating to have your can stolen, its even more frustrating to find out that there’s a 6 week waiting list or some equally ridiculous time.

    For what its worth, the folks who automatically assume that everything NOT from home depot is better than something from home depot and have ridiculed going to home depot to buy a trash can as an inferior choice, they sell the DC mandated trash cans at the RI Ave Home Depot. Of course, they’re frequently out of stock because of the lengthy city wait list. But fear not, they are also for sale at Lowes all over the area. I believe they are more expensive at the big box stores than they are through the city and there is no serial number.

  • My biggest gripe is when some sanitation worker gets cute and deliberately positions my neighbor’s supercan squarely in the middle of my garage just to be a douche (I use front, neighbor uses rear). It’s a minor but totally unnecessary nuissance to have to move it. That reminds me — I need to send a picture of that to DPW so they can do nothing about it.

  • I was told by neighbors to paint our address on all four sides, which i did immediately. No problems whatsoever, so far…

  • PDMtP

    Props to my MtP neighbors – the cans get randomly shuffled and broken by DPW, but at least they don’t go anywhere.

    There is no “they” buy us trash cans. “They” get their money from us, so we’re paying one way or another. That said, I would be on board with the city’s raising property taxes by an average of 62.50/2 years (or whatever the average lifespan of a Supercan is) and just making them available on request. As long as there’s no market for stealing the things and selling them outside DC, there’s no incentive to steal one if you can just have one (or if someone would rather steal yours than call DPW, you’re only out the trouble of a phone call). This isn’t something where if people don’t have an incentive to take protect them, the city will end up buying lots more; it’s going to work out to a total of one can per household, plus however many DPW destroys.

  • Just wanna say that the city doesn’t provide ANYTHING for free. Even goods and services that seem “free” – like trash pick up, or public libraries, etc – aren’t free. You pay for them through various taxes. So free trash cans? Not free. You just pay indirectly through your taxes. Also, part of me is sort of glad when neighbors steal my recycle bins because at least it means that more people are recycling instead of clogging up the landfills with their old newspapers and water bottles. Of course the other part of me is annoyed that these people can’t just get their own frigging recycle bins like the rest of us :)

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