The greatest and worst NextDoor thread of 2016 started with one Denver dude’s recycling

This is what happens when you dump stuff in a stranger’s recycling bin.

Various waste bins in Lincoln Park. (Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite)

trash; garbage; recycling; lincoln park; kevinjbeaty; denverite; denverite; colorado;

This is what happens when you dump stuff in a stranger’s recycling bin: First he gathers it up. Then he brings it over to your address, which he knows because it’s on your mail. Then he logs onto NextDoor.

A delivery. (NextDoor screenshot)
A delivery. (NextDoor screenshot)

This inevitably leads to a few questions and comments from the community. First, isn’t that USPS package recyclable?

Also: “Holy moly.”

Now, if you expect this situation to end in a lot of nasty words between strangers, you are correct, and maybe you should just scroll to the end of this, but first there is a real civic dialogue on recycling and morals, etc. It involves dozens of posts and many, many people. It is a huge waste of time, and it is the complete example of how much people can talk and how crazy they can get on the local internet. I read it all.

Some members of the community have helpful advice!

As one Wash Park resident points out, the city asks that people keep their trash and recycling bins on their property until the day or night before collection.

“This does create some new challenges for those of us without a garage/parking space, but it would likely help solve the problem of people placing items in your bin,” she notes.

“Our weekly trash rituals are not dissimilar to a carefully planned game of 3D Tetris. … I am an extremely calm and easy going person, but nothing makes me see red faster than opening my trashcan to find that someone has rudely dumped their waste into my trashcan,” one woman notes. She has worked out arrangements with neighbors to dispose of her stuff, which she notes is a great way to meet your neighbors.

Another woman says that it might be illegal to put your recycling in someone else’s bins. Anyway, this particular person suggested that maybe the solution is to minimize the amount of waste you produce!

(Update: I earlier posted a reading of city law that said it might be illegal to use your neighbors’ bins. In fact, a city spokeswoman just told me that it is completely legal to put stuff in your neighbors’ bins if they are in the public right of way.)

“For example, I stopped drinking bottled water and La Croix,” she notes. One guy said that he himself dumped stuff in people’s bins, and saw this as a reason to install more community bins.

Other members of the community are more strident in their criticism!

“Neighbor …in the spirit of the season and in honor of our earth…I am baffled by your response…” one person replies.

“Not sure why anyone would become a recycling policeman, unless of course they have nothing better to do with their time. One should be happy that someone is trying to recycle, even if some of it may not be recyclable,” writes a man with a hilariously similar name to the original poster.

“You’re crazy. Get a life,” wrote a dude.

“This is how people get their ass kicked. Rightfully so. What a weirdo,” somebody added.

Some people really like it!

They say such things as, “This is awesome. 😂” and “Proud of you,” and “I’m with [name of guy.]”

And then it just keeps on going!

“[Name of guy,] that isn’t your recycle bin it belongs to Denver Recycles. It would be different if it was your dumpster and you paid for the service..I’d laugh at you if you came to my doorstep with that stuff and put it right back in the recycle bin,” writes a newcomer to the conversation.

“Funny…. It has my address on it and I pay taxes,” responds the original poster.

“I’m sure [the recycling rule breaker] pays taxes as well…” comes the retort.

“And he also has his own bins,” comes the counter-retort, two minutes later. By now it’s 11 p.m., and a whole separate debate over the legality of using someone else’s recycling bin is unfolding. (“It would never hold up in court.” vs. “Second to last bullet point” vs. “Since we’re quoting guidelines…”)

One person comes in with some support for OP:

“You are missing the larger point. This is not about what will hold up in court, this is about being a decent human being and a decent neighbor. I have had numerous times when I walk out with multiple bags a day or two before trash/recycling collection only to find my bins filled to the brim with trash that doesn’t belong to me.”

Here, yet another person jumps in:

“It is not ok that someone used his bin for non recycle material. However, it’s all in the delivery as they say. Don’t cowardly post his name and address and your actions on nextdoor. Be man, grow some balls and confront him. … Too much life experience and too busy to track down the neighbor, write a love note and then upload and post to a website most normal neighbors use to give away furniture or inquire about school programs. Way to, Champ!!”

There’s even an extended story/metaphor about some pissy fisherman, which ends like this: “As the menacing rowboat quietly floated off, the fisherman began laughing and shaking his head.”

Adds another local: “I imagine you’ve also made an enemy out of this neighbor you’ve apparently never even met…It just seems a bit childish to me.”

Various waste bins in Lincoln Park. (Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite) trash; garbage; recycling; lincoln park; kevinjbeaty; denverite; denverite; colorado;
Various waste bins in Lincoln Park. (Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite)
This, apparently, is the culmination of a really bad year for Denver NextDoor.

“What a year folks!! Condomgate, recycle-shaming and dog poop crisis of 2016.” I have no idea what those other things are, but they sound serious.

But the original poster sees this not as a ridiculous venture, but instead one of righteous deliverance.

“For the record … this isn’t the first time he’s done it, I did ring his doorbell, I did not hand write that note (it was in with his trash) and I do have balls. Also, his neighbors did not have very nice things to say about [the guy] and that he needs to be taught a lesson so I took him to class.”

From there, a bunch more insults involving 10-year-old girls and the idea that the original poster “irons his jeans” and is not fun at parties, although some people still held OP up as a “hero to a lot of us.”

Another voice of reason: “As much as I hate to say this, and involve myself, but you all should be embarrassed for insulting [original poster.] At this point, the thread has lasted well beyond 24 hours.

It even starts spilling into real life!

Apparently recycling piracy’s a real common thing.

“I got caught red handed this morning at 7:30 am putting my extra recycling in my neighbors bin,” one woman writes. “I apologized and told her I do this often as I mentioned earlier I care about our environment and recycle everything. I told her about this crazy thread and she laughed and said she had far more important things to do with her life and that I was welcome to use her recycling bin anytime.”

Yada yada, some debate about whether this was a cowardly act or not, and whether OP deserves to get dragged so hard…

Oh, good, OP again: “Correction, I only called [my neighbor] lazy and/or stupid. I, on the other hand, have been called weird, Internet tough guy, passive aggressive jerk, douche nozzle, coward, 10 year old girl, that I lack a life and need to grow balls. You tell me who’s being more civilized and mature.”

And then he deletes the thread.

Andrew Kenney

Author: Andrew Kenney

Andrew Kenney writes about public spaces, Denver phenomena and whatever else. He previously worked for six years as a reporter at The News & Observer in Raleigh, N.C. His most prized possession is his collection of bizarre voicemail. Leave him one at 303-502-2803, or email akenney@denverite.com.