My Neighbor Keeps Putting Garbage In My Can! What Can I Do?

Tiffany Nichols
by Tiffany Nichols

Everyone wants to feel like part of a community. But that requires everyone to work together and respect each other’s property. So, what do you do when a neighbor keeps putting trash in your bin? Is it legal? And if not, what can you do about it? Find out now.

Your neighbors can’t use your trashcan without your permission. That’s because you pay the city for trash pickup. So, the town considers any unauthorized use “theft of services.” As a result, you can prosecute people who throw rubbish in your bin as a result. And law enforcement can get involved, especially if a neighbor tossed incriminating evidence on your property.

Can a Neighbor Use My Trashcan?

Don’t let your next-door neighbors put their trash in your bin. They could overflow the can, causing your trash to get left behind after pickup. Moreover, you could be held responsible for any illegal items in the garbage on your property. And since you don’t always know what your neighbors throw away, it’s best to keep your rubbish separated.

You can let people put their trash in your bin. But neighbors must ask permission to throw away items in your dumpster. And it’s a good idea to put that permission in writing. If something terrible happens, you don’t want to be responsible for their negligence.

Is Putting Trash in Your Neighbors Trashcan Illegal?

Cities give a name to using someone else’s trash can without permission. They call it “fly-tipping,” and it’s against the law in most states. Some municipalities even send police officers to address the situation, while others don’t. Usually, the consequences depend on several factors, including how your neighbor feels about the dump.

Using someone else’s trash receptacle may seem like an innocent act, but you’re actually stealing their services. And too much trash in their bin can attract pests or cause a mess. Plus, you could get accused of theft or vandalism if you cause damage to their property. So, it’s wise to use your own bins or look for public trashcans to throw away rubbish.

NOTE: You can’t put junk in someone else’s bin, even if you pick up trash on the street like a good samaritan.

Can You Put Dog Poop in Other People’s Garbage Can?

Don’t expect people to be happy if they catch you putting dog poop in their rolling bins. That’s because feces stink. Plus, pet poop can attract flies, rodents, and other pests. Like trash, it’s illegal to throw pet poop into someone else’s receptacle. However, it’s also illegal to leave fecal matter on streets or sidewalks. So, look for public waste containers instead.

Meanwhile, some cities allow passers-by to toss pet poo into their neighbor’s trash cans if they seal the waste correctly. So, check your local laws for more information about what’s allowed in dumpsters. Or talk to your next-door neighbors to find out how they feel about sharing their services.

Can You Put Garden Waste in the Dumpster?

Garden waste is technically biodegradable. However, you still can’t put it into public trash containers without permission from the city. That’s because the Environmental Protection Act of 1990 prohibits it. Section 33 of the EPA also defines what garden waste is. So, you nor your neighbors can put grass clippings, tree branches, or old leaves into the dumpster without facing fines.

What Do You Do When Someone Puts Rubbish on Your Property?

You don’t have to allow people to fill up your trashcan. On your property, you’re allowed to use dumpsters any way you see fit. So, you can confront a person or file a complaint if you’re unhappy with their behavior. And you can also sue them if they cause damages, attract pests, or cost you money for cleanup, disposal, or litigation. The point is to remain civil and exercise your rights.

When discussing the issue doesn’t solve it, here’s what else you can do to keep people from using your bin:

  • Put Up a Sign: Let people know you don’t allow public use of your bins, and ask them to throw trash somewhere else.
  • Call the Local Authorities: Ask the police to explain your rights and responsibilities to know what you can and cannot do.
  • Examine the Evidence: Try to find out what your neighbor tossed so you can separate it from your garbage.
  • Wait for Removal: Arrange for a registered waste carrier to remove the rubbish and dispose of it correctly.

Still not satisfied? Put up security cameras to catch the culprit. Or try moving your dumpster somewhere away from the public so other people can’t access it. You can also install a dumpster lock to stop neighbors from opening the lid.

NOTE: Ask your waste removal company if they sell dumpster locks at a discount for existing customers.

What Do You Do If Someone Takes Your Bin?

In most states, your trash bin is considered private property. That’s because you pay for the services and either rent or buy the dumpster. So, other people can’t remove it from your yard unless you give them permission. And if they do, they could face fines or penalties from the city. However, you must hold them accountable, or else nothing will happen.

First, report the theft to the police using the non-emergency line. Then, wait for cops to examine the evidence and provide further instructions. Your rights and responsibilities can vary from one location to another. So, don’t take matters into your own hands. Afterward, you can contact your waste removal service provider to request a new bin.

How Do You Stop Someone From Using Your Dumpster?

Remember, the neighbors can’t use or remove your dumpster without prior authorization. And that goes for trash on the street and their pet poop or other litter. So, prevent the illegal use of your trash bin with one of these seven tactics:

  • Relocation: Move the trash can where nobody can find it.
  • Restriction: Install a dumpster lock to keep the lid closed.
  • Warning: Put up signage to deter passers-by.
  • Recording: Use security equipment to track illegal activities.
  • Confronting: Talk to your neighbors about possible solutions.
  • Informing: Consult your landlord with the details.
  • Complaining: File a complaint with the city.

If all else fails, you can also contact the police for help. Usually, cops will give your neighbors a verbal or written warning first. Then, you can file charges or take them to court if they illegally dump trash on your property again.

Related Questions

Who Is Responsible for Litter?

Landowners are responsible for the litter on their property. So, even if someone else throws trash in your yard, you still have to remove it. And if the waste causes a nuisance in the community or an environmental health issue, you could face fines or penalties. So, pick up litter in your yard and contact the appropriate authorities if your property gets vandalized.

Can You Be Fined for Littering on Private Property?

You can face serious fines if you get caught littering on private property. That’s because littering makes cities look terrible. Plus, trash can attract pests that the town must pay to remove. And it’s horrible if you drop litter into publicly accessible water sources such as rivers, lakes, or streams. Rubbish can contaminate the ground and water supply, causing illness, injury, or death. So, most cities charge steep fines for littering.

Is It Illegal to Use Someone’s Bin?

In most cities, it’s illegal to use a neighbor’s garbage bin to throw away your trash. You must find public receptacles instead. Some towns consider unauthorized use of dumpsters theft of services. So, you can face fines or penalties if you put rubbish in them without permission.

Do You Call the Cops on Someone Littering?

Don’t immediately call the police when you catch someone littering on private or public property. There are other ways to solve the problem than involving the cops. First, confront the person and ask that they stop littering. Then, put up signs to warn people about the consequences. After that, you can request help from law enforcement. Or you can take a neighbor to court to get them to quit.

How Do I Get a Bigger Trash Bin?

You can request a bigger dumpster from your local waste management company. But try to approach the company that’s already responsible for trash pickup in your area. That way, you don’t have to pay extra money for a bin. And you can count on workers removing the trashcan from your property weekly.

Live in Peace with the Neighbors

Keep the streets and sidewalks clean while following the laws in your town. But don’t throw trash in your neighbor’s dumpster unless they say it’s okay. And never allow someone else to put their rubbish in your bin because that could cause problems. So, contact the local authorities if you need more help.

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Tiffany Nichols
Tiffany Nichols

Tiffany Nichols specializes in aesthetics, design, marketing, and manufacturing. She's a copywriter and editor for several home renovation companies in the U.S. and works alongside some of the biggest names in the industry. Her hobbies include architecture, art, mental health, and fashion.

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