Why Would Someone Steal Your Recycling Bin? (ELEVEN REASONS)

Most homeowners take their trash out several times a week.

At the same time, others follow the trash day schedule provided by the municipality.

But there is a concern that some thieves make away with the trash cans.

So, Why Would Someone Steal Your Recycling Bin?

A recycling bin is where you stash all sorts of waste materials, including outdated documentation such as utility payment receipts, bank statements, and other documents that may contain sensitive private information. Trash can rustlers often ransack your trash can looking for these essential documents.

Once they get hold of your documents, they extract all the personal information such as your home address, name, bank account number, date of birth, and any other crucial information they may deem helpful in identity theft.

Why Your Recycle Bin Is a Threat to Your Security

Recycle bins and trash cans are a hot commodity for identity thieves.

It is common for most homeowners to find their trash cans missing after leaving them outside for pick up. Your recycling bin is worth something, and they are trying to make some money.

One of the things that these low cadre criminals are looking for is your private documentation for identity theft.

The other type of criminal is interested in your recycling bin itself.

The value of a large trash can is worth a skill, which is why thieves are interested in it.

First, let’s focus on the type interested in your personal information.

Once the thieves have made away with your trash can, they extract your personal information. Here is what a thief can do with your private details:

  1. Open a bank account in your name, and who knows what sort of financial crimes they will commit in your name.
  2. Get a passport in your name.
  3. Apply for a loan facility or a credit card in your name.
  4. Pile up debts in your name.
  5. Get a driving license
  6. Seek government benefits
  7. They can get access to your online banking and siphon your money.
  8. Use your name to apply for a driving license.
  9. They can register a new vehicle under your details.
  10. Seek a job under your identity.
  11. Use your details in case of an arrest or court action.

Actually, criminals can do many activities with your private information while disguising themselves as you.

The most common is financial identity theft, where fraudsters use your personal information to gain access to your accounts and commit financial fraud.

Document thieves can also use your details to commit medical identity theft.

They often seek medical services and charge your insurance provider. This affects your insurance coverage. If your medical history is mixed with someone else’s, it affects the quality of medical care.

Thieves may also use their identity details to cover their criminal acts to avoid being linked to the crimes.

They can use your ID-related information to launder money or other unscrupulous acts. It gets even more, scarier if they access your bank accounts.

They can use your money to commit acts of corruption, transfer your money for terrorism-related activities, or human trafficking acts.

Six Ways To Check If Someone Is Using Your Identity

Here are warning signs of someone using your identity:

  1. You get a medical bill notification from your doctor for services you didn’t request.
  2. You get a call from debt collectors about a loan facility you don’t owe.
  3. Inconsistencies in your credit report. If you notice loan accounts you don’t recognize or recall opening.
  4. Notice from your health insurance telling you that you have reached the limit of your benefit.
  5. Getting email notifications of billing you know nothing about.
  6. If you notice withdrawals in your bank statement that you didn’t make.

If you can tick any of the above tell-tale signs, there is an actual probability that someone has stolen your identity.

Three Ways To Protect Your Personal Information

1. Shred Everything

Shred all old or outdated documents containing your personal information before shoving them into the trash can.

These include your medical records, credit report, bank statements, utility bills, insurance documents, and other documents containing your details.

2. Black Out Applicable Info

Black out the parts of the document where your personal information is printed. Use a permanent marker to ensure the thieves won’t erase the markings.

3. Destroy Applicable Info

Always destroy your expired bank cards, identity cards, or membership cards before throwing them in the recycling bin.

Five Ways To Stop Thieves from Stealing Your Recycling Bin

  1. Install video surveillance in your home and erect a warning sign saying, “This property is under CCTV.” This can scare away wayward scam bags loitering to steal your recycling bin.
  2. Return your recycling can immediately after pick-up. The thieving guys will have nothing to steal.
  3. Thieves are bold in the dark. Lights can scare them away. Leave your exterior lights on or activate the motion detection mode.
  4. Watch out for any suspicious loiterers in your neighborhood. Do not confront them. If they are suspicious and seem out of place, notify the authorities.
  5. Adopt a trash day schedule. You should bring your trash bin the day when the garbage truck is coming. This will minimize the chances of someone going away with their trash can. Once they have emptied the trash, bring in your recycling bin for cleaning.


The main aim of the trash can rustlers is to access documents containing your private information to be used in committing fraud.

They are there to steal your identity.

The other thieves might be interested in your recycling bin to make a fortune.

You can ensure that you destroy documents containing sensitive information before putting them in the recycling to avoid becoming a victim of identity theft.