West Seattle Crime Watch: Recycling-bin ripoff

Bernice wonders if anybody else’s recycling bin has been stolen. A costlier crime than you might imagine – read on:

She e-mailed this to us earlier this week – so the timeframe is actually at the start of LAST week:

Our recycle bin went missing sometime between last Monday evening (after we had returned it from the curb to the side of our house as usual on recycle day) and Tuesday morning when we noticed it missing. Our neighborhood is 41st and Dakota [map], near Seattle Lutheran H.S. … The City of Seattle let us know that it will cost us $130 to replace our stolen bin, and we are not allowed to use any other kind of bin (it won’t be picked up for recycle).

We’re going to doublecheck that policy with the city – how do you theft-proof something that you are required to leave sitting out on the curb at least one day a week?

27 Replies to "West Seattle Crime Watch: Recycling-bin ripoff"

  • MargL July 22, 2009 (11:10 pm)

    $130? Holy cow! It doesn’t say anything about a fee on the ‘fill this form out if you have a lost or damaged recycling bin’ page!

  • Dave Anderson July 22, 2009 (11:17 pm)

    Someone grabbed our recycle bin a couple of weeks ago too. We live around Brandon and 23rd.

  • 17th and Thistle July 22, 2009 (11:24 pm)

    We received a new blue one today, without any notice. It was garbage day, no recycling though. When I went to pull the cans back into the carport, saw that they’d come up and taken the old recycling bin (with stuff in it). I know my neighbors received a new can about a month ago…so not sure how they decide when it happens…just doesn’t seem like a lot of rhyme or reason to it. Did you check with the city to see if the disappearance of the old one has anything to do with a new blue one being delivered???

  • pauline July 22, 2009 (11:28 pm)

    If you’re talking about the big green can, I have a spare one. I called the city to pick it up. I left it out for a week but they never came by.

  • coffee July 22, 2009 (11:30 pm)

    How weird, because in my neighborhood, we are served by wastless management, and people use any type of containers. Mind you we are 2 blocks outside of the city limits, and pay 4 times the city rate for the same service, but we can use any container.

  • AW July 22, 2009 (11:34 pm)

    Yes. my recyclying bin went missing last month sometime near 38th and Charleston. i went to the waste management website where I told them that I needed a new one. about 2-3 weeks later a (smaller) blue one was dropped off. who steals a trash can? i dont think i had to pay a fee though. i should check my bill.

  • Mookie July 23, 2009 (12:09 am)

    Weird. My recycling bin went missing a few months ago (35th and Andover). It happened on a pick up day and I walked the alley the length of the block both ways looking for mine, to no avail. No on else’s seemed to be missing, so I thought perhaps something broke on mine and the Big Truck just took it away. Expected a replacement but after a couple weeks without a bin, I called and asked for one and the new smaller blue one was delivered in about a week.

  • Wilma July 23, 2009 (6:01 am)

    It seems like when they switched over to the new recycling program they started picking up the larger green recycling containers ramdomly. Ours was picked up without any notification. Like many people who have commented here we thought ours was stolen too. If the city has a program to gradually replace the old green bins with new SMALLER blue ones why didn’t they just notify us ahead of time and let us all know what their plan was.

  • Agen July 23, 2009 (6:04 am)

    our bin also went mysteriously missing about a month ago. my wife has requested a new one via the city’s web site, but it seems they’re sticking with the max of 10 – 15 business days before delivering a new one.

    according to the site (as my wife told me), you should be able to put out your own bins or boxes with recycling and the trucks are supposed to pick it up.

    but what’s with all this random bin thievery? weird, indeed.

  • MargL July 23, 2009 (7:31 am)

    Yes the link I posted above specifically says “Continue to use your damaged container or place your recycling in a cardboard box or paper bag.”
    Hopefully SPU has communicated this to the company contracted to collect the recycling (U.S. Disposal/Allied Waste?)… because I think it’s that company that’s being random.

  • Jen July 23, 2009 (8:05 am)

    I had mine stolen last year in Arbor Heights. The city just replaced it for me at no cost.

  • TeaLady July 23, 2009 (8:55 am)

    Ours disappeared about 2 weeks ago and when I called the City, the operator commented that he had taken a ton of the same types of calls. He figured it was part of the gradual replacement of old for new…a new one appeared about 10 days later. Seems like a waste of money to me but what do I know…

  • Minette July 23, 2009 (9:07 am)

    Ours was taken away about four weeks ago too. When I called the city I was told the same thing as other commenters above: It’s been happening a lot and it seems like it’s related to replacing old bins with new ones.

    There was no charge for the replacement bin, however, so I’d definitely call them back, Bernice, and get that worked out. The person I spoke with specifically said that there is NO charge for the bin.

  • Justin July 23, 2009 (9:19 am)

    About three weeks ago I was working in the garden when I walked into the alley just as a plain white box truck was pulling to a stop at our recycling bin (we have two). The guy behind the wheel stammered, and then asked if the bins were mine. I said yes, and we use them both. He said okay, sorry, and drove off. I could have be mistaken, but it was strange. It sure felt like he either worked for the city, or was about to take one of them. (32nd & Trenton)

  • bridge to somewhere July 23, 2009 (9:22 am)

    if you want to theft-proof your bins (or almost anything else), put your last name or address in big bold letters all over it. the bigger the lettering the better it will be.
    thieves want to avoid being noticed, and using a bin in front of their house with your address all over it is not in their best interest . . .

  • Mrs A July 23, 2009 (9:31 am)

    In Arbor Heights ours went “missing”, too. Wouldn’t the operator know if there was a program or process in place to replace cans? What was wrong with my old one? I thought it was fishy when it was replaced for no charge. Even fishier now …

  • no likey July 23, 2009 (9:35 am)

    Ours went missing — 38th between Andover and Dakota… same area mentioned in several posts above. We thought it had been taken/stolen… perhaps removed by city? But we called and they delivered a new blue one (still very large container,not the small new ones — but new and blue). Hmmm… I’m pretty sure it was free. I would have nothing to do with paying $130 — that seems ridiculous.

  • mrhineh July 23, 2009 (10:12 am)

    OK, now how stupid are these people?? They will take the bin, and not replace it at the same time? WTF? Then, all types of manpower is wasted taking phone calls, ordering and delivering the replacements. Is this the higher quality we are being charged to “improve the system”? And a sneaky way for the recyling company to “pad” the contract? Or just ineptitude at its finest.

  • The Hepcat July 23, 2009 (12:27 pm)

    We’re on California and Southern and had our green bin taken away and a new blue one appeared a day later. No sign of fees on our bill so far….

  • bb July 23, 2009 (12:31 pm)

    it wasn’t stolen, it was recycled to someone elses house, you need t obe more environmentally progressive!

  • SS July 23, 2009 (10:22 pm)

    An Enterprise rental box truck was out swapping bins in my alley this week, just one guy driving. He took my neighbor’s full recycle bin which I thought was totally weird, until later when I saw big empty blue one in its place. I live near 12th and Elmgrove. I assumed he was with the city.

  • James Sherwood July 25, 2009 (3:19 pm)

    Just don’t recycle, problem solved, it’s not like the city workers even care, I remember watching a Kiro 7 special about how the State Ferry workers were taking all the garbage and recycling on the boats and throwing it all away in one dumpster. Our tax dollars hard at work. I’ll say…

  • homedk July 25, 2009 (9:45 pm)

    Ours went missing earlier this summer also; it was the only one in our neighborhood & it disappeared without warning, so it did seem pretty strange…not to mention, pretty inconvenient.

    A new one wasn’t delivered until we ordered one; that took several weeks.

    The handle that is used to lift the bin was broken on ours, so we assume that ours was taken so that it could be replaced with one that wasn’t damaged.

  • Wendi July 27, 2009 (12:20 pm)

    Mine disappeared a month ago for no reason. They didn’t say that I’d have to pay anything, but if I do they can have it back and I won’t recycle. That’s a ridiculous policy because we have no control over who takes them.

  • Molly August 1, 2009 (9:34 pm)

    Ours went missing on Monday (pick up day) so I walked up and down our alley (yup, in the same area many mentioned: between Andover and Dakota between 35th and 36th Avenues) but I didn’t see it. I went to the website and requested a new one. We’ll see what happens next. I believe it was in good shape, not needing replacement. But what an odd thing to steal if it wasn’t Waste Management!

  • Chris August 5, 2009 (8:25 pm)

    Ours went missing in Ballard yesterday (our collection day). As far as I can tell, everyone else on our block still has theirs.

  • Wednesday August 6, 2009 (12:47 pm)

    Ours too went missing in early June near 45th/Brandon. Finally got the new (smaller) blue one this week, but it took the city 2 months to replace it. I don’t know if ours was stolen or was just taken by the city, but I have a feeling it was the latter. Just doesn’t make sense. I just can’t understand why they didn’t just explain that to us! Something seems fishy to me, and it’s not my recycle bin!

Sorry, comment time is over.