Mum sparks debate over widespread rubbish bin tactic 'everyone does' - but is it illegal?

The Aussie woman questioned whether this common, suburban rubbish bin move was actually against the law or just 'frowned upon'.

Brooke Bliss with her daughter (left) and suburban wheelie bins (right).
Would you put your rubbish in someone else's bin if yours was full? Brooke Bliss sparked debate after sharing what she does. Source: Instagram/brookeisblissed/Getty

Rubbish bin etiquette has been called into question after an Aussie mum shared a common dilemma many of us grapple with. Brooke Bliss sparked debate online after she asked whether it is "illegal or frowned upon” to add household waste to a neighbour’s wheelie bin if yours is completely full.

Bliss, who lives on the NSW Mid North Coast, said that in her area bins were only collected once a fortnight and with a family of five — which includes two children still in nappies — hers fills up very quickly. She said that she often waits till the "dead of night" on the day before collection and tosses a couple of bags of general waste into neighbours' bins.

“Is this illegal or frowned upon?” the digital creator asked her followers in a video online.

The mum lives in the Port Macquarie Hastings Council LGA where general waste is collected once a fortnight, alternating with the yellow recycling bin, while green waste was picked up weekly.

“It’s actually super stressful, especially when you have young children… the bins fill up quite quickly,” she told Yahoo News Australia.

Brooke Bliss in sunglasses at the beach (left) and with her daughter (right).
Bliss has opened the lid on the controversial practice of sneaking rubbish into neighbours' red bins. Source: Instagram/brookeisblissed

“I find that my bin is full maybe like the fourth day after it’s just been collected and there’s still another eight or so days to go.”

She said she had “the most lovely neighbours” who would never have an issue with it, but she’d heard of other people being told not to do that by other residents.

“I mean, if your neighbours aren’t letting you do that even if they have room in their bin, you then have the rubbish lying around your property because you have nowhere else to put it," Bliss added.

So, is it illegal? While technically there are no laws against putting your rubbish into a neighbour's bin, trespassing could be an issue unless you wait until the bin is on council land. A spokesman for Bliss's local council said that the move is generally frowned upon unless there is an agreement among neighbours.

Many fellow Aussies commenting on her video said they also sneak rubbish into their neighbours' bins and that once they were on the kerb they were fair game, with one adding: "as long as you're not putting rubbish in recycling or garden waste".

“Both our neighbours know we do this to them,” one wrote, while another said: “I do it in broad daylight.” With a third adding: "everyone does this".

While others said they would only be angry if a neighbour added waste if their bin was already close to being full. One woman shared: "If you ask I would be fine with it, unless I’m putting extras in the bin in the morning. My neighbour did this once and my bin lid wouldn’t close, so I put it on her doorstep". Others suggested that Bliss could pay extra to council for a bigger or extra bin.

A person who said they were a former council employee who used to work in waste collection posted: “It’s not illegal but maybe frowned upon by some. If you have a nice neighbour, just ask if you can.”

Others were horrified about the fortnightly rubbish pick-up as council collection differs between individual local government areas.

“That’s so odd!” one wrote. “We’re in Victoria and our red bin is every week, green and yellow alternate. You guys are getting stooged big time!”

Brooke Bliss in a still from a TikTok filmed in her car (left) and in her kitchen (right).
The digital creator posts her 'daily dilemmas' on TikTok, often addressing 'mum life' and her family. Source: TikTok/brookeisblissed

A Port Macquarie Hastings Council spokesperson told Yahoo: “Some residents have neighbourly arrangements to use each other’s bins which is up to residents to agree on. Unless there is an arrangement in place, council discourages this activity.”

He said while most general waste collection services in the local government area were fortnightly, the council offered a weekly service at a higher cost due to the increase in servicing. Owners and property managers could select a change to their waste service type by contacting the council.

Residents could also take their waste to the council's waste management facilities which included several items that could be dropped off for free, the spokesperson added.

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