An interesting commentary from Andrew of Here in Van Nuys about his recycling bins getting cleared out:
"The night before collection, an armada of braceros pushing shopping carts, marches down the street, and opens each blue container and removes those recyclables before the truck arrives. By the time the truck gets here, I wonder if 90% of what's inside is gone...
Not only do these collectors take away cans and bottles, but they sit and read, as if they were detectives or librarians, any magazines, papers and documents that might be inside the blue refuse container."
We have this same thing happen on a weekly basis. Personally, we don't mind that people besides the city collectors are using our bins to gather recyclable materials to make a living; it all gets to recycling facilities in one way or another. BUT, we hate finding our bins ransacked, overturned, and left in disarray, and there is the worry about personal information being divulged. What to do, what to do.
Supposedly the city is working on recycling bins that cannot be accessed except when lifted and tipped by their collecting trucks, but that might be a few years down the road. But for now, you can take a few steps yourself. First off, shred all your personal paper forms before throwing them out. Better safe than sorry. Secondly, be organized while dispensing your recyclables; putting all your cans and bottles in bags will lessen the chance someone will dig willy nilly all through your trash can. And if you're even more proactive, meet and greet with the people who look through your recycling bin and communicate your wishes, whether it to be that you prefer they stop looking through your trash, or that perhaps you can inform them which day you'd have your recyclables ready for them to gather.