A Sydney resident’s Facebook post about a bin diver has made headlines, as residents of her south-Sydney suburb debated whether bin diving is ethical or not.

Following the introduction of container refund schemes in Australia, which have served as a way to encourage recycling and money saving in kids, “bin diving” has seen a sharp increase, with people rummaging through others’ bins in an effort to find cans and bottles they can turn in to NSW’s Return and Earn program. The program gives residents 10 cents for every can and bottle they hand in, and there are reports that some are earning as much as $2000 a week through the scheme.

A Mortdale resident learned about the lengths people will go to in order to collect recyclables this weekend, after finding an elderly man on her property on Sunday morning, going through her son’s collection of cans.

Submitting her complaint to a Mortdale community group on Facebook, she wrote, “Was awoken this morning 21/11/21 to our dog barking, only to find this elderly man had entered our property (via the front gate) and was caught red handed helping himself to my son’s recycle can collection, located up the side of our house.” She included a photo of the man, hoping the community would be able to identify him.

The woman went on to explain that her “very large” husband came outside after hearing the commotion, and tried to take the bag of recycling from the man. The man refused to let go, and subsequently slipped. The woman made various claims about the man’s English abilities, namely that he was pretending he couldn’t speak English, and said he was “of sound mind and knew exactly what he was doing”. She finished, “If you know of this man, please let him know that trespassing on other people’s properties is not only illegal, but may end up terribly for him, should a man of a different disposition to my hubby (or an aggressive dog) decide to take matters into their own hand!!”

Many were quick to agree with her that his behaviour was inappropriate, with people calling him a thief and calling for him to be locked up. One commenter wrote that she should have “turn[ed] the hose on him”, while another wrote that there was “no excuse to steal”.

Others weren’t as harsh, with several saying that there was no need to post about the ordeal. One commenter urged the woman to “try compassion”, while another said that she was not being “very nice”. One person said, “I do not condone theft but if someone is stealing veggies out of my garden, my first response is to find out why,” while another wrote that they would have given him the cans along with $10. “I am so blessed and feel for the old and elderly that may be having a hard time getting money for food.”

Image: Maskot

This article first appeared on Over60.