Over on this week’s open thread, Supafly10579 asked how to keep the bottle collectors out of her yard. This, of course, spurred a discussion that’s come up a few times before in the comments – i.e. readers think these people are a nuisance.
Someone linked to the video above, which shows one of these bottle collectors locked in a fierce argument with a customer service employee at Stop & Shop. She is being banned because she places labels from returnable bottles on nonreturnable bottles, bilking the store out of money.
I frequently hear that the collectors are a menace, crowding the machines and raiding people’s garbage bins. But they’re also providing a service: by picking through our trash to find the recyclables we’re too lazy to return, the city is spared the cost of processing what likely amounts to a couple of tons a year. Meanwhile, they’re providing for their families (though probably not the Benz the filmmaker thinks) and moving the processing job to the private sector.
That’s a good thing, right?
There’s still the issue, though, that they’re rifling through our garbage and potentially damaging or dirtying our property (garbage, by the way, is considered private property until it’s placed at the curb). The collector cartels also monopolize machines, making it difficult for those of us that do want to get our deposits back all but impossible.
How should the authorities and/or supermarkets handle the situation?