It was approaching 2 a.m. on Friday morning and I was about to go to bed. I heard someone putting cans into the recycling dumpster outside. This happens all the time and I barely notice it anymore. Strangely, I kept hearing the sounds of empty cans against each other as if the would-be recycler was depositing his cans one at a time, every few seconds. Finally, after a few minutes of this, curiosity got the best of me and I went to have a look out the window.

To my surprise, I saw a guy in the dumpster, digging for cans. He wasn’t in the dumpster reserved for metal and plastic, mind you. He was in the garbage dumpster. As he found cans, he tossed them into a carry-all he brought into the dumpster with him. This was the sound I was hearing. His partner was standing beside the dumpster sorting through the garbage as best he could. Thinking both that this was a bizarre sight and that I couldn’t help but write about it, I wanted a photo. Unfortunately, by the time I got out onto my balcony with my camera, dumpster-guy had exited the dumpster and they were preparing to leave. Interestingly, the minivan they drove have a bunch of things tied to the roof. I’m guessing they discovered these items while searching for cans elsewhere. There were some plastic lawn furniture and cabinets of some sort.

Initially I didn’t approve. Who were these guys to be going through our garbage and taking what they wanted? Then I thought, it’s the garbage, for goodness sakes. They didn’t make a mess, and searched the garbage dumpster, not the dumpster full of cans and plastic. There’s little difference between what they were doing and someone picking up an old table from the curb, where you’d placed it for garbage pick-up. No one bats an eye at that. The more I thought about it, the more I thought, “good for them.” If some people in my building are too lazy to separate their cans from their garbage, why shouldn’t these guys make a few bucks? The cans they took would go to the landfill anyway.

The only real objection I could think of is the noise they made, which really didn’t bother me at all. It was just out of the ordinary. While I wouldn’t want to do it, I have no problem with them doing it.