Recycling is a great way to reduce your environmental impact, but it can be a challenge if you have limited space in your recycling bin. If you find yourself with more recycling than you can fit, you may be wondering if it’s okay to put some of it in your neighbor’s bin.

A user asked the forum, “Am I a jerk for putting some recycling in my neighbor’s bin?”


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The Original Poster(OP) lives in a neighborhood of row homes in Philadelphia, where trash/recycle pick up is free. 

OP says that on trash days, the whole street places their trash bags and recycling directly on the sidewalk, and crews come and pick it up.


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That week OP had some small broken-down boxes that he could not fit in his recycling bin.


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OP says that it’s a bit windy out, so when he noticed his neighbor’s recycling bin was mostly empty, he slid the broken down boxes into their bin instead of leaving them loose on the curb.

As OP turned back inside, his neighbor stuck their head out of the window and started going off on him. 


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He politely explained his reasoning and asked if they’d prefer he took the boxes out. They said yes and that what he did was not cool.

OP Apologized

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OP apologized, said it wouldn’t happen again, and just left the boxes loose on the curb. On the one hand, he just wanted the boxes to be picked up and not left as litter on the street which happens often. 

OP wants to know if he is wrong


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Since he was a new homeowner and was definitely not up to date on common neighbor boundaries.

OP asks if he is a jerk for recycling in his neighbor’s bin. 


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“It would have taken absolutely zero effort for you to have extended the basic courtesy of asking first. As a general rule, it’s always considered polite to ask before using anyone else’s property.”


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“But, in this specific case, you weren’t really a jerk; it’s just the vote that best fits the situation. 

You weren’t being malicious or anything; you just didn’t realize you were in the wrong.

You don’t put stuff in other people’s bins, and even if he had room, he has to police that behavior because if you don’t, you’ll end up with people using your bins when you actually do need the space.

The proper way to handle the situation is either you jam the boxes into your own bin, or you hold onto the boxes and put them in to be collected the next week.”


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“I wouldn’t do it when you don’t know the person or haven’t asked permission.

My neighbors and I share spare bin space all the time, but we send a text or ask in person first. Now you know. Slight jerk.”


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“It’s not your bin, and unless you had asked beforehand, it’s rude.”


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“I’d say you’re inconsiderate and a bit daft here. If this was me, I’d be angry too, but only because you didn’t ask.

You don’t know if I’ve got stuff I’ll be putting out later; I just haven’t got around to it yet or whatever.

You are a jerk, a little bit. Doesn’t take much to ask.”

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