The ‘bin bandits’ earning thousands
SOME Aussies are earning up to $100,000 a year by rummaging through people's recycling bins and using their rubbish to cash in on refund schemes.
The scheme allows people to get 10 cents back for every recyclable item they bring in.
The introduction of the Return and Earn scheme in NSW has seen a noticeable rise in dumpster divers.
Multiple residents have filmed these "bin bandits" shamelessly rummaging through their bins and taking recyclable items.
Footage, aired on Sunrise, shows a man looking through a stranger's recycling bin in broad daylight and taking out items he can get money from.
Another video shows someone sneaking up to a huge industrial bin during the night, while a third video shows someone walking down the street at night and rifling through bins.
While 10 cents per item might not seem like much, some of these bin bandits are doing it on such a large scale they are bringing in $2000 a week, according to 7 News.
NSW, South Australia, Queensland, ACT and the Northern Territory all have similar cashback schemes in place.
Drink containers made of PET, glass, aluminium, HDPE, steel or liquid paperboard are eligible to be returned for money.
Local Government Association of NSW president Linda Scott told 7 News it was encouraging that so many people were participating in the scheme but it was "technically" wrong for people to go through other's bins.
"Councils legally do own what's in that bin, but ultimately the goal here is to increase recycling," she said.
The majority of social media users didn't have an issue with people going through their bins, so long as they left the area clean.
"I have thrown it away by putting it in the recycling bin. I don't want it anymore. If you want to go through my bin for recyclables, go for it. Just leave the area clean when you are finished," one person said.
"Who cares? As long as the don't make too much noise late at night and don't leave a mess it's a win/win," another wrote.
Others thought there should be some rules around when they can and can't take the items.
"If its outside fair game, if its inside my property stay the hell away from it," a commenter wrote.
"I think they should ask first if they want the contents of someone's bin. Not just take without permission," another suggested.
However, some people were against it completely over concerns there may be items that have personal details that had been thrown away.