Do you take recyclables out of public trash cans?

I go to a 24/hr laundro-mat. Usually at 3 am no one is there. Its a goldmine of empty soap containers. I won’t dig into trash cans, but if its in plain sight, its mine! So I toss them into a bag in my car and put them in the recycle bin behind the library. Its not for money, I just love keeping things out of the dump!
Does anyone else do this?


  1. 0 Votes

    I dig into my own household’s trash can to pull out recyclables.  But I commend you for doing that for public trash cans.  It’s sad that you have to be the one to do it.  There should be a recycling bin right next to that trash can in your laundromat.  You should talk to the owner about putting one in.  Or you should donate one.

  2. 0 Votes

    When I was a freshmen in the dorms my roommate didn’t recycle as hard as I did (and do), so I spent some time picking through our trash. These days, I’m picking through the recycling because sometimes my family tries to recycle things that can’t be. 

  3. 0 Votes

    I used to get so mad at my old job because we had a shred box, and all of the paper got recycled. The other girls in my office would throw paper away all day even though the box was RIGHT THERE! At the end of the night, I would go through the trash can (as long as it wasn’t gross) and put all of the paper in the shred box.

    I also do this at my mailbox at my apartment complex. There is a recycling bin right next to the trashcan, and people still throw their junk mail in the trash. I get frustrated when doing the right thing is so easy and people choose not to.

  4. 0 Votes

    I will dig recycling out of my own trash at home, if you one my roommates forgot, but I draw the line at public trash. I feel that it is very important to recycle everything that can be, but I also feel that my health and safety is more important. Public trash is not a safe place to be rummaging around in, and should be left alone.

  5. 0 Votes

    Yes! Also, when we take our dog for a walk, we bring one bag in case of poop, and another for reclycables– especially aluminum, but also plastic. Trash cans near sports fields almost always have aluminum in sight– but we don’t dig. (It’s gross!) If I were obsessive compulsive, I’d wear gloves. . . 

    Also, people used to discard a lot of bottles and cans on the treelawns on the vacant lots across the street. I put a bin there– at first to avoid having to find another bag, then people started using it instead of littering. Now i just have to pull out the non-recyclables. Thank goodnes for gloves and soap!

  6. 0 Votes

    It seems there’s quite a cadre of us sneaky-recyclers. I take a couple extra bags around with me anyways when I walk my dog, so any stray trash/recyclables gets picked up. It always makes me cross when I see it – who still litters?

  7. 0 Votes

    I manage a garden that is part of a conservation organization. Recycling is a hard-driven message that I can never quite believe not all visitors receive. Located right next to the trash is a recycling can with simple words and pictures to let you know what can go into it. Nonetheless, apathy and laziness prevail. I feel it is my professional responsibility to sort through the refuse and make things right. I also feel duty-bound to break down all the cardboard boxes that my neighbors discard whole (as I know how much it costs my landlady to have an overflowing bin and because it just plain ticks me off!)

  8. 0 Votes

    I do not take them out of public trash cans, but sometimes I will in a home (such as a friend’s).

  9. 0 Votes

    How interesting that eight great people agree with this good citizen.  How about some kind of fun signage to encourage those that are lagging a little, or a thermometer type graph illustrating the success of the program?  The group in charge of the waste container might be a good one to speak to.  Congrats  on your efforts. 

  10. 0 Votes

    I always take them out of my own trash can (certain members of my family still haven’t mastered the art of recycling). Also, I have been known to carry around plastic bottles/other recyclables when I’m in public until I can find a recycling bin to put them in. The lack of recycling bins, especially in big cities, always astonishes me.

  11. 0 Votes

    will at home and at my friends (closer friends). Though I do pick up stray bottles and other recyclables on the ground. usually have my backpack with me and have a doggy poop disperser on it. Will crush plastic bottles (or let my lab do that for me) and cans, then throw it all in the recycle bin at home. actually have a bin in the car trunk for these baggies of recycle. 

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