Other People's Trash on Your Property

Here’s a scenario: you live on a county road, and on occasion some of the fine and considerate people who drive by toss empty beer bottles and cans onto your front lawn. Are you justified in kicking them (i.e. the bottles/cans, not the people) into the street and leaving them for the county to clean up, or are they now your responsibility and need to go into a trash can?

Well, you probably shouldn’t kick bottles into the street, can’t you at least kick them into the yard across the street?

I’d pick them up. There’s no sense in leaving it there for someone else, even if it pisses you off a little to do so.

I hate litterbugs.

I don’t really think it’s your responsibility to pick them up, and it shouldn’t have happened in the first place…but…if it were my property and we were just talking the occasional (relatively clean) bottle or can I would just pick it up and toss it in the trash.

Their thinking is “not my house, not my problem, I don’t have to see”. If your thinking is “the county can pick up, not my street, not my problem” it’s kinda a bit similiar.

Our backyard backs up to the main street through our subdivision and we wind up with other people’s crap in our backyard (the whiskey bottle was actually preferable to the time someone threw an egg at the house). We clean it up.

I’m living in an RV. I’ve seen people rinse their sewage hoses out onto the grass. I’ll take garbage I can see, any day. :mad:

Agreed. Where we live hasn’t been in the city limits very long, and a long side of our property has road frontage. We get the occasional can or bottle, it’s no big deal for us to pick them up.

What I used to hate was when I lived in a subdivision. Wankers would throw their branches across the fence into the creek. Hey, I don’t mind if you flood your own house, but kindly do not flood mine. :mad:

Well, you *can *just kick them out into the street, but then your street starts looking like a shithole, which certainly doesn’t discourage people from throwing random trash there. Also, what is kicked into the street tends to just get blown or pushed back into your yard anyway. Picking them up and disposing of them properly is probably less aggravation, in the long run.

I live in a little suburban neighborhood and I get other people’s trash in my ditch all the time. Technically I don’t own the ditch, the city does, but no one comes around to clean it up or anything so I just clean it up myself (with a rake and a trash bag) to keep my yard from looking so junky.

I live in an urban neighborhood and have the problem of trash (chip bags, bottles, etc.) being dropped in front of my house on the sidewalk or on my lawn/flower beds.

I pick it up and toss it into the trash. I guess my attitude is that I am a member of a larger community and the appearance of my home contributes to the betterment of this community. Unfortunately, in a mixed socio-economic urban neighborhood like this not all the residents agree. Regardless, I do my part and try not to grumble about the inconsideration of others.


…sounds a lot like littering to me.

I don’t know the legal question in your jurisdiction, but the morally right action is to pick up the garbage and properly dispose of it (seperate glass bottles and beer cans for recycling!) Not only is this better for your community, it’s also better for the enviroment to properly dispose of trash instead of just leaving it lying around in the street where the wind can blow it anywhere.

Socially, there’s the graffiti effect - basically, if there’s graffiti on the walls (or trash lying around) then the other people think “nobody cares about this neighborhoud, so why should I care?” and start dropping their trash more often.

I’m surprised that people are unsure about this - my mother never accepted the “I didn’t drop that litter, so why should I pick it up?” excuse when I was a kid. Instead, it was “If you see it, you pick it up; just because other people are slobs, doesn’T mean you have to be one!”

Well, the neighbors’ feral children throw food over the fence into our yard, does that count? We deal with it by throwing it back over early in the morning before anyone’s up over there.


Just this weekend, we severely trimmed down a big flowering vine which grows on the fence separating our properties. We found a big rat’s nest in the heart of it, and the nest was completely built out of candy wrappers and other kids’ trash.

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I think that conclusively demonstrates that the “throw it back” strategy, while momentarily emotionally satisfying, is ultimately impractical.

I once found an old mattress tossed onto my front yard. At the time I needed to haul some stuff to the dump so I threw it in my truck with the other stuff.

Every day, I walk the frontage of our property, picking up everything from crack pipes to cigarette butts. It’s good exercise, all that bending and lifting. But one day, someone threw out a vodka bottle, right in the middle of our gravel driveway. It took me hours, in 95 degree heat, to find and pick up all the tiny shards. I had cuts all over my hands before I was finished. I want to know who did it, so I can track him down and break a vodka bottle over his head.

When I was a kid, we lived just far enough out of town and the one drive-in restaurant (no ‘fast food’ yet) that people would finish their pop and throw the glass bottles out into our ditch. They landed on the grass, and usually didn’t break. And they were returnable, and you got 3¢ each! I often made more from returning such litter bottles than I got paid for mowing the lawn.

You mentioned bottles & beer cans – both of those are recyclables, worth some money. Probably not the lucrative 3¢ each that I got in the 50’s, but still some money. Pick 'em up, and recycle 'em.

Here. at any rate, the landowner (or tenant, in the broadest sense) is legally responsible for clearing it up, even if he can prove he didn’t dump it there.

It sucks, but the homeowner should clean it up. In DC we have this problem in front of our house and so do my neighbors. We all go out there with plastic bags and clean up the litter. Being an adult doesn’t always seem rewarding.

I pick up stuff that ends up in my yard but it never fails to make me grr. It’s almost always one of two things: Red Bull Bottles or beer bottle caps. I don’t drink either.

The beer bottles especially get me mad. I don’t see any in this neighborhood, it’s slightly more upscale, but in the old place I’d see broken beer bottles everywhere and it just used to piss me off. I know people just go get drunk and then think it’s funny to smash up their beer bottles. I hope every one of them gets nasty deep glass cuts. The best is when there are broken beer bottles in playgrounds. Assholes.

But yes, I pick up the trash in my yard.