Too Much Trash: Can I deposit overflow garbage in a neighbor’s can?

Q: The neighborhood garbage is collected once a week.  Each household is allowed one can, but we seem to generate more trash than our neighbors do.  Is it OK to put our excess in a neighbor’s half-empty can?

B: Ask first.  Don’t assume your neighbor “won’t mind,” especially if you pay for trash pick-up and removal.  The couple next door will likely be more receptive to your refuse overflow if you offer to contribute a little extra to the expense in exchange for convenience.


  1. Jody

    I agree with EPI, definitely ask first. If the neighbors don’t agree, please take it graciously. It’s possible the lack of garbage isn’t a permanent situation and the neighbors may return to a situation where they have more garbage.

    Can you apply to your homeowner’s association or the garbage company (whoever made the “one can per household” rules) for an occasional variance? I’d think that other households must have been in the same situation you are.

  2. Michelle

    Absolutely ask first.
    A former neighbor would take it upon himself to fill the neighboring trash bins with his garbage. Not once did he ask if it was okay.

    It was never okay with me because the morning of trash pick-up, I’d bring a bag of trash to the bin prior to pick-up. It was not a happy surprise to see my bin loaded to the top with HIS garbage.

    I nicely asked him to not put his waste in my cans because I needed the bin space on the day of pick-up. Isn’t it ironic how he told me I was being rude for confronting him?! Go figure.

  3. This looks like a very typical United States problem! First off, try to produce LESS garbage by living more environment friendly. When eating healthy fresh fruits and veggies, you already solve two major problems and eliminate enough garbage to make do with the space you got allotted. Having been an international consulting we did work in all continents and believe me, producing that much waste, mainly plastics and papers for our daily meal consumption is not something to brag about.
    Solving a problem, we need to go to the core of it and not looking for excuses how to cover up!
    You can look here how bad we are doing globally…
    So please, don’t talk rubbish!
    Let’s all clean up our act and make 2014 a more environment friendly year.

    • jordi

      Please do ask first. My husband embarrassed me when he went out with an extra bag or garbage only to find out that our side of the road had been collected already and put it across the road at our neighbours since he assumed she only had one bag out and the limit is two in our city. I saw her come out shortly after with a second bag of our own and was looking around to try to figure out where the second bag might have come from. I ended up going out and having to tell her that my husband had put it there and had to haul it home again!! Very embarrassing!!

    • Jazzgirl205

      I agree with Mariette. It is amazing how small an amount of garbage you can produce when you put your mind to it. We live in a forest clearing on a mtn with no garbage pickup. I cook from scratch so have very little packageing. Our grocery store has recycling bins at the entrance which we use. We compost vegetable peelings and such for our garden or for the small animals who live in the woods. Our neighbors feed their dogs leftover table scraps and allow us to do the same. In turn, the dogs feel a loyalty to us and patrol our property on a regular basis.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *