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Agitated homeowner shares photo of mess left behind by local garbage collector: 'File a complaint'

"Looks like they took your bin and left your garbage."

"Looks like they took your bin and left your garbage."

Photo Credit: iStock

Recycling is one of the easiest ways to do your part for the planet. Most communities now have dedicated collection services that take plastics, cardboard, and glass from your doorstep to recycling centers to give them a second life.

While avoiding single-use plastics especially is a great way to reduce the amount of waste we create, sometimes it's difficult. But at least they can be taken to facilities by local services. When you find the day's collection is a little less than thorough, though, it can be disheartening.

One Redditor posted a couple of images on the r/mildlyinfuriating subreddit of a partial spillage of items from their recycling bin, which showed things strewn on the pavement rather than the results of a successful pickup.

"Looks like they took your bin and left your garbage."
Photo Credit: Reddit

Trash collectors are no doubt overworked and underpaid, but it's still frustrating that your efforts to keep polluting items from making their way to green spaces or water sources can be dashed so quickly. 

If blown by the wind, these items can land in less-than-ideal locations. In woodlands, for example, plastic can get caught in undergrowth and remain for years, leaching toxic chemicals into the soil that can prevent future growth.

If it reaches rivers or oceans, it will not break down naturally but will gradually erode into microplastics, which can be ingested by marine animals and even pollute drinking water later on.

In both cases, larger plastic particles might be ingested by animals, leading to choking hazards, starvation from the inside, or entanglement.

Generally, though, it means the items will not be processed for further use, which is kind of the point of recycling. Trying to reduce the amount of new material we produce for things such as food and drink packaging is key to stopping the overproduction of materials including plastic, which is harmful to the environment at every stage in its lifecycle — from the petroleum extracted and burned in its creation to the pollution it causes after improper disposal. 

Fellow Redditors were equally annoyed by the scene. 

"File a complaint," one user said, also suggesting the OP could get reimbursed if they pay for their trash collection.

"Looks like they took your bin and left your garbage," another user observed

But this example shouldn't discourage recycling efforts. Hopefully it's an unfortunate outlier in a practice that can otherwise help to stop everyday pollution and increase the chances that materials are repurposed.

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