Dumping on the neighbors

In my community, wherever home construction appears, so does a dumpster the size of Cleveland.

Right now, two homes on my block are building additions, and each has a hulking container killing grass in the yard. That, plus a portable toilet, is the least appealing aspect of construction.

But a sadder commentary on human nature is being written on our street: Both families have discovered other people's trash in their dumpsters. One woman left her house for 45 minutes and returned to find that someone had used pieces of wood to wedge a cast-off bicycle into her dumpster. Another family came home after a weekend away to find their dumpster nearly full of someone's junk.

It's no coincidence that our town has just adopted a pay-as-you-throw trash program.

Besides the outright tackiness of using a neighbor's dumpster, the activity is illegal in many places. It also costs the homeowner more in dumping fees.

A company I found online called Best Rate Dumpster Rentals charges $250 for a 10-cubic-yard dumpster for seven days. A spokeswoman for the company says that illegal dumping is a problem, because "nine times out of 10, people think it's free dump day if they see a new dumpster in their neighborhood."

My neighbors are feeling a mixture of disappointment and worry at the idea that we have secret dumpster dumpers living among us. Neither family complained to law enforcement, and when I called the police department, they had heard nothing of the problem.

Someone has suggested video-camera surveillance, but no one wants to keep that close an eye on dumpsters - or on neighbors.

E-mail the Homefront at home@csps.com.

(c) Copyright 2001. The Christian Science Monitor

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