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In the past months, there were several occasions when I found foreign waste in my personal bins. I cannot say, that was my neighbor for sure as I never saw anyone. But the waste type and content made me realize since the very beginning that it must be him.

There are no families with children living close to me, except his, who is nextdoor. In my bin I kept finding dirty diapers, old toys, accessories for children, but also ice-cream or chip packages as well.

At first, I decided to ignore the fact, as I thought it is just occasional. But as time passed it became more and more often, to the point I find something every week.

I have a good relationship with my neighbors and I also love to see his four children and spend time with them. They may not have problems with money, but I also can tell they do not earn much and they are probably watching their savings.

Two years ago their house partially burned. Fortunately nobody got hurt, but they had to find a temporal accomodation. Among the neighborhood, I also offered my help, but they refused. With the help of the insurance, they were able to rebuild their house and move there again approximately a year ago already.

They have had a very stressful time and I understand that. Also, life with few income and a lot of kids is probably exhausting and stressfull.

I completely understand their situation and I am open to help. At the same time, I'd like to ask them to kindly stop using my bins. How should I do that avoiding conflicts? Also accounting to the fact, that although evidences, I am not 100% sure it is their doing...?

More details: In Germany every house has its own bins to use for the family(families) that live there. Every bin is weighted and emptied regularly. They charge you based on your bin's weight. My neighbor has his own bins, but still keeps using mine as well. They are themselves German, so I'm sure they know the bins policy.

  • Are you sure your neighbour is aware of the policy ? At my parents (in Germany) it's the volume that counts, i.e. you pay for a bin of a certain size and it cannot overflow. There it is customary among neighbours that once you have put your bin out for collection anyone is free to use up the remaining space should there be any. – Marianne013 Nov 29 '19 at 16:02
  • Well, they put their waste in my bins all the time, regardless whether it was put out for collection or not. Their bins have plenty of space left, so it is not even a space problem. Also, their bins are very close to their entrance and to their parking. To reach my bins, they need to enter my (private) parking space and reach my entrance door (the bins are next to it)... so, it does not feel like a misunderstanding. – N.R. Dec 2 '19 at 14:46
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I've found the best way to resolve things that could be heated is to try and leave the other party a way out without losing face.

Perhaps say

Howdy neighbor I noticed some odd trash in my bin, do you think one of your kids might have mistaken mine for yours? I'd not mind but it costs more money/my bin was too full for my trash.

OR

Hey neighbor, have you seen anyone around putting trash in my bins? I saw some stuff in there I know I did not place.

At this point most guilty folks will recognize they've been busted and will be thankful for you going out of your way not to embarrass them; and they'll either admit to accidentally using your can and stop or perhaps they'll deny it and stop.

And if in fact they are not using the can you have not falsely accused them.

  • Thank you, this sounds good. I will test it out and let you know how it went. I can do that at the earliest in the WE if I see my neighbor... I will try to make it appear as if I was not waiting for him :D – N.R. Nov 21 '19 at 7:36
  • I did not have the chance yet to speak to them. I accept this answer for now, and will get back with updates as soon as I got any. Thank you – N.R. Dec 2 '19 at 14:34

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