One Man’s Trash is Which Man’s Treasure?


Fullerton trash in green bins is gold to hundreds if not thousands of recyclers throughout North OC. People who are in the marginal business of recycling are now flocking to neighborhoods throughout Fullerton Monday- Friday. Depending on the day of the week that your trash is picked up you may notice people competing to score the goods from the green bin. It’s no coincidence that it’s green is it?

So who does the recyclable stuff belong to? Good question. Someone “inadvertently”  forgot to label the bin Property of MG Disposal or Property of the City of Fullerton, and the recyclers believe that they are doing business as usual.

Most people understood that if everyone helped (recycled) by sorting our trash, then the hauling rates would be lowered (or at least not raised) and would save us  a little money on our trash bill. But now that we are all sorting the “goods” for the recyclers on trash day it has become an added bonus for those in the shopping cart recycling business.

Is a crime being committed? Is anybody cited for it? Who makes up the loss for MG Disposal?

Did the city and MG Disposal leave out an important clause in the contract? Or is it just easier for everybody to look the other way?

19 Replies to “One Man’s Trash is Which Man’s Treasure?”

  1. admin, “Did the city and MG Disposal leave out an important clause in the contract?”, who’s “the city”, names please?

  2. This is really about the nuisance caused by shopping cart recyclers who are pilfering the cans just like they pilfered the cart. The sound of a shopping cart rattling down your alley at 6 AM has annpyed many a Fullertonian.

    It’s pretty clear to me that the cost of lost recyclables is so marginal that MG doesn’t care to protect its “property.” Who knows? maybe it actually costs MG to deal with this stuff.

  3. If the recyclables were worth anything to MG Disposal we wouldn’t have to pay them to pick it up in the first place. It costs them money to haul, sort and track all of that material, so they’re happy to let someone else do the work for them.

    It’s a win-win unless you’re the sucker paying the disposal fee. Wait… that’s me.

  4. Anonymous :
    phyllis garrova oversaw most recent MG Disposal contract…

    Who oversaw Phyllis Garrova? I’m sick of people digging through my recycling bin, it’s very annoying and not right. I was hoping that by recycling our trash the rates would go down.

    This is a good issue, thanks admin!!

  5. The bins are much easier to manage and store than the eight or ten, gallon sized bins that some people put out every week.. “Dumpster diving” is in the Fullerton municipal code.. call the police dept and when your on the phone tell them you request that the violator be cited, not too difficult..

  6. People have to get to a pretty desperate place in life to spend their time digging in the trash to make enough $’s for food or booze. Once your trash goes to the curb it becomes the property of MG, and taking it is probably misdemeanor petty theft. I’ve seen the police stop people and cite them, as well as making them put the stuff back. Ask yourself the question would you rather save a couple of cents a month on your trash bill, or give the lowest tier of our society a few extra bucks. Now, depending on how you answered, go look at yourself in the mirror, and see what kind of person you really are.

    1. It’s not about the money its about the public nuisance, And it is a nuisance. I’ve never seen cops stop anybody for this, just like I’ve never seen them stop someone for boosting a shopping cart.

  7. yikes, I looked in the mirror and it turns out that I’m the type of person who expects everyone to either follow the law or change the law.

    If you let people steal because they are poor, you’ve created two sets of laws – one for the poor and one for everyone else. A class-based legal system may seem innocuous in the trash can world, but it almost always ends with the poor on the receiving end of great injustice. We are a nation ruled by law, not by men who “look the other way” when it feels prudent.

    Perhaps these people should seek employment at the MG sorting facility or offer to take the recyclables from homeowners before they are put on the curb. Or maybe the law needs to be changed.

  8. yikes :
    Now, depending on how you answered, go look at yourself in the mirror, and see what kind of person you really are.

    Yikes, arrogance will get you life without the possibility of repentance. Stupidity, 15-20.

  9. I don’t mind the dumpster divers….what I do mind is that when their done pilfering through my garbage, is that they leave what they don’t want on my curb so I have to go back and put trash and recyclables back into the bin.

    On a side note……as a long time recycler, where I’ve taken the time to keep my recycling separated, then haul in to the appropriate recycling center in my own vehicle. I find the bins large, cumbersome and a total pain in the ass. I’ve witnessed the elderly neighbors struggle with their large bins and have run to assist them. What the hell was MG and the City of Fullerton thinking when implementing these behemoth collectors of refuse?

    Does it cost extra for the MG Disposal to come around 3 separate times during the day? I can’t believe we’re saving money when those gas guzzling trash trucks are rambling through our neighborhood 3 times on trash day!

  10. My dad told me that when the MRF sytrem was set up in Fullerton the customers (us) didn’t do any sorting at all – that was done at the MRF. I wonder if we ever got a fee lowered for doing it ourselves – or did MG pocket that little labor saver?

  11. SashaBug :
    I’ve witnessed the elderly neighbors struggle with their large bins and have run to assist them.

    Anyone can request smaller trash bins by calling MG at (714) 871-1434. They will arrange for the monster bins to be removed and replaced with smaller more manageable ones.

  12. Had that same question as SashaBug.. Now, MG Disposal comes 3x/day, trash (recycleables come first, then yard waste, then trash) doesn’t get picked up in our neighborhood until 2pm or so. Before? 10am at the latest.. So, trash sits in bin now for practically a whole day…

    What about staff? Five years ago, they had two men on the trucks, then it came down to one driving, running out to load containers, now it’s down to one driver.. With the change, has MG Disposal downsized staff, let go employees?

  13. SashaBug: you can also request assistance from MG Disposal and they will have a crew take the cans out and put them back.

    At the end of the day many of us are on alleys in the city. I am not able to monitor my cans 24/7 and they remain out in the alley always. The worst part of the nuisance is as one commenter said, they trash is dug through and removed from the can and not replaced. It is spread throughout our alleys and makes the area look quite bad.

    I would love to see a bicycle officer patrol areas of trash pickup to cite the worst offenders, unfortunately that is costly and I have found that they “dumpster dive” mostly in those cans that are out late at night or very early am.


    What’s Wrong? What’s Happened to Southern California?
    Rancho Santa Margarita’s BRE Properties’ Unanswered Big Secret: Trespass Laws Abolished? Dumpster Diver Infestation or Illegal Immigrants?
    Dumpster Prowlers Threaten Residents of Upscale Suburbia in So-Cal, What’s Going On in Southern California – Suspicious Activity Alarms Locals?
    Imagine that you’re jarringly startled from a deep sleep by a brutish sounding noise that instantly invokes a sense of imminent danger; a bizarre noise resembling a small bear thrashing about in a dumpster, with bottles and cans serving as a loud clanking bell and clattering gong, beginning around 5 a.m. and lasting off and on until about 8:30 a.m. nearly every morning including Saturdays, Sundays, and holidays. Most would grab their hunting rifle and run to secure their doors and ensure that their family is inside and safe before calling the Forest Ranger.

    Surprisingly, the setting of this reality, experienced daily by many upstanding residents of Southern California, is not deep in the untamed wilderness at some campground far from civilization: it is within some of the nicest neighborhoods in So-Cal. Moreover, it’s not a bear making all the ruckus. Yet, likened to an unwanted and potentially dangerous prowling bear that travels miles to one’s location to scavenge near you as you sleep, the creature stalking your resting place is human and as allusive as any crafty big game predator; slipping quickly away before being caught, trapped or shot for trespassing, just to return days later to torment your peace of mind and restful sleep. Imagine this scenario repeating itself day after day, and week after week with no end in sight.

    BRE Properties in Rancho Santa Margarita, like other apartment management companies in some of the highest rent districts in So-Cal, fail to inform would-be tenants prior to lease-signing that their property is infested with un-screened trespassing “dumpster divers.” Further, it is the tendency of upper management to refuse to take on the cost of properly policing their properties from trespassing passerby; unstopped passerby who are clearly seen to have travelled from the shadiest and untamed low rent districts of surrounding cities; unchecked passerby who without doubt threaten the safety, quality of life, and peace of mind of BRE ‘s high-rent tenants.

    Rancho Santa Margarita –
    Criminal Trespassing – No Longer a Crime – A Subverted System in So-Cal? An Indicator – Drugs, Crime, Illegal Immigration & Mexican Drug Cartel in So-Cal? Why City Officials Refuse to Enforce Trespassing Laws Remains Unanswered:

    This popular syndrome, the disturbing choice by leading business men and women and city officials in the community to entirely shirk responsibility and instead look the other way when it comes to the trespassing scavengers of unknown origin, sends a clear message to squatting transients, illegal immigrants, criminals, and derelicts of the lowest end of neighboring cities. It appears that Rancho Santa Margarita is an open hunting ground for trespassing prowlers.

    Working for the last decade as a journalist and award winning documentary filmmaker, I have followed this popular and ever increasing social phenomena of dumpster diving for quite some time. Spurred on by my own experience as a victim of trespassing dumpster divers, I have taken the time to research, study and acquire the inside scoop on this bizarrely accepted-by-authorities criminal activity in today’s So-Cal culture.
    The only reason that I can think of as to why early morning dog-walkers shyly look away, when bumping into such obvious trespassers from the shady part of some other town is that they are naïve to the potential dangers of allowing this at their place of residence, or they are frightened of the real potential danger, they are afraid to report it to the proper authorities, and/or they’ve learned that they have no recourse to stop it short of putting themselves at risk in becoming a dumpster security guard from 4:30 to 8:30 a.m. seven days a week.

    Today’s unsolved and escalating dumpster diving social issue, while largely ignored by the powers that be, is certainly not going to go away on its own, quite the contrary. When will this serious third world issue that’s come home to roost in the US be addressed? After some famous person’s wife or daughter is raped or abducted, or perhaps after their husband is shot and robbed while walking out their front door to the grocery store, to school, or while heading off to the office? Identity theft is also a serious concern surrounding the dumpster diving issue.
    Perhaps it’s an issue that’s too embarrassing and one that if seriously addressed by those powerhouse leaders in So-Cal would perhaps open up a can of worms with devastating consequences for political careers and/or revenues of multi-billion-dollar corporations.

    Danger Close – Prowlers Continue to Invade So-Cal’s Private Housing Communities; Garbage May Not Be the Only Thing That
    Desperate Dumpster Diving Trespassers Are Looking For:

    These dumpster divers I’m speaking of are not the college educated green movement folk partying in front of God and everybody at Trader Joes’ dumpsters seeking out perfectly good food that is neatly sealed while chanting, ‘Save the environment! Stop needless waste!’ Neither am I speaking of a dumpster in some out of the way public place, tucked back behind some commercial building. I’m speaking of a dumpster at your higher-end lovely, private apartment homes with all the amenities complete with panoramic views, right under your balcony and just feet from your front door, in front of which your children, wife and husband must pass each morning in order to get to their car.

    These are derelicts and/or lurking prowlers, also known as hood-rats, who drive from slum neighborhoods, trespass a 100 yard private drive (even slipping through gated properties) and sneak up to your front door, slither around casing the entire property, and taking anything that is available under the indifferent noses of property grounds crew employees then disappearing before 9 a.m. when the leasing office personnel arrive. These brazen criminals are now invading even the more affluent neighborhoods of homeowners, again with little to no consequences for trespassing. Most would agree that people live outside of the city and willingly pay additional fees for toll, gas, time and higher rents because they desire to live and raise their family in neighborhoods and housing communities that are pleasant, safe and far from the seedy elements of the city and it’s questionable outlining areas.

    Once upon a time these responsible, family-oriented people at least had somewhat of a secure notion that their neighbors were thoroughly screened, that their city officials and local business owners found it mutually advantageous to be concerned for their reputable tax paying citizens’ wellbeing and the community, and that having pepper spray and/or a gun at the ready was not necessary. After all, the proper housing authorities have all the pertinent information concerning the residents of any given community, a great deterrent should someone actually consider committing a crime on their own street.

    However, within this scenario, the screening of tenants is a moot point because those committing today’s most popular crime of criminal trespassing, and potential crimes of convenience, are from other neighborhoods, coming and going as they please on private housing property. It remains unclear who these people are or where they’re from specifically, but it is clear enough that they’re not your garden-variety socially acceptable neighbor from down the block.

    People are still paying a higher price to live in good neighborhoods only to find that the troubling elements of bad neighborhoods are coming to them, literally just feet from their door. Meanwhile, the appropriate city officials and big corporations do nothing and often state publicly that it’s not a serious problem, not a real crime and not worth the cost of enforcing and/or thoroughly addressing. Interestingly enough, it seems that criminal trespassing has unofficially been deemed something other than a real crime in Rancho Santa Margarita and BRE Properties, and in many other affluent neighborhoods in Southern California as well.

    -Video Doesn’t Lie-

    My research shows that at least 97% of these criminal trespassers in Rancho Santa Margarita are Latino; Caucasians and African-Americans make up the remaining percentage. This is not a small group consisting of the same people, but a variety arriving in different vehicles (some noticeably without license plates) transporting gangs of people most everyday of the week.

    Many look like they just crawled out from under a rock with a look and demeanor of a rough, desperate, volatile fugitive living on the edge ready to explode, giving off a poignant vibe advising beware; a group much more suited to a controlled environment than one that allows close association with your child in their own backyard. Common sense suggests that a sane individual would shutter to think that their beloved young child, wife or husband might unwittingly bump into or inadvertently offend these dumpster diving trespassers alone in the wee early morning hours.

    This holds true unless your family members have experience traversing ghettos, and exude a street-tough physical presence suggesting that they carry lethal protection and are more than willing to use it if necessary. Since this seldom describes well educated, cultured people raised in good neighborhoods, whose only familiarity with the dangerous and gross realities of a ghetto like neighborhood is via the nightly news, makes these families sitting ducks and potential easy prey for these seemingly harmless and nameless scavenging dumpster bears crossing from the wrong side of the tracks into your neighborhood for easy pickings and lawlessness.
    So-Called Dumpster Divers – Who is Stalking Your Neighborhood and Private Community?

    Since these seemingly untouchable ghost unknowns stalk lawlessly as they please in some of So-Cal’s nicest communities upon private housing and residential property with absolutely no response from police or property management companies, it’s surely not a question of if but when will our vulnerable citizens next be attacked. Evidently, the powers in charge are not believers in the wisdom of “an ounce of prevention is worth more than a pound of cure” when it comes to the quality of life and safety of their citizens and/or tenants.

    After all, on which particular day will these trespassers ask themselves, ‘why climb into a dumpster for chump change when lying in wait at the dumpster for a victim with real cash, credit cards and a set of keys (belonging to an easy-to-fence set of wheels) is so convenient?’

    Make no mistake by absurdly presuming that these so-called dumpster divers are just good people that have fallen on hard times. Nor presume that they are harmless and just looking for garbage. Contrarily, they show to be a fearlessly aggressive and lawless bunch that have absolutely no qualms with criminal trespassing on private property or invading the very boundaries of your home or your right to privacy, even in broad daylight. These are, without doubt, criminal activities going unabated and most would agree that their continued allowance goes against the very essence of what America claims as one of its most outstanding virtues.

    Recently, I completed a documentary film on the homeless and found that most were good people who had fallen upon circumstances beyond their control. They were not criminals, nor would they contemplate criminal trespassing; they refused to make themselves a nuisance to the rest of society in any way, most refusing to even ask others on the street for change. They were acceptable enough in their appearance, clean-shaven folk that behaved and addressed their unusual challenge in the same manner that they lived prior to their circumstances: with integrity, considerateness, intelligence and civil mindedness as law abiding citizens.

    Clearly, the dumpster divers addressed in this article are not subscribing to these values by any stretch of the imagination; they are emboldened lawless individuals whose risk to you is only heightened by their knowledge that you have, to date, little meaningful recourse in any attempt to circumvent their activities. The lawless, confident that they have only a minute chance of being caught, exponentially increase their potential as dangerous characters. Some may only continue to fish for bottles and cans, destroying your quality of life and peace of mind at your hard-earned expense and at their gross single-mindedness towards their convenience in spite of you, but only a fool would be willing to risk the wellbeing, if not life, of their child, wife or husband on this wild presumption.

    There is profound wisdom involving accepted standards in safety and quality of life within a community as to why individuals must pass a screening process prior to being accepted into said community, before being permitted to legally tarry amongst others in that commune. Respectively, for these same reasons, discerning individuals seek out housing communities that indeed require a background check and screening process of all would-be tenants. It aids in the assurance of dwelling within a more cultured and/or civilized, higher quality of lifestyle environment, while offering a higher percentage against encountering individuals within the immediate community that might well put a family within a high risk category of being potential victims of crime, especially violent crimes.

    For unknown reasons, trespassing dumster divers are permitted to completely bypass the screening process and loiter within high-end screened properties on the path of screened individuals going to the pool, gym, trash and parking facilities, hence, putting them in a high risk catogory within a low risk neighborhood. Bizarre is the only word to describe this twisted reality in RSM, properties like BRE Properties, and in other more affluent neighborhoods in So-Cal’s upper class communities.

    What Are the Real Issues Surrounding Criminal Trespassing – Dumpster Diving Prowlers?

    This social-political issue entails a solid underlying platform. Like a political campaign, said issues are often misconstrued and convoluted via fierce wrangling of involved parties attempting to sway and capture constituents for support in order to win.

    Though the right to endeavor towards acquiring a quality of life that nurtures safety and peace is a topic of special concern today, more times than not, when push-comes-to-shove, time and time again history shows that most political platforms sadly boil down to the people verses big corporations’ and/or public officials’ profit margins, not real and specific issues confronting society and our culture. Documentaries serve as a tool to unravel hidden agendas and the real issues of highly public campaigns. Some say the issue of criminal trespassing, and “dumpster diving” as it were, is one of morality also involving racial/cultural and social class issues, while others feel it is an issue of criminality and still others proclaim it’s all political.
    A question of morality… Are we our brother’s keeper? Within a civilized and humane culture, this is certainly a valid point. Even in Christ’s day the unfortunate were allowed to harvest the corners of the fields, or trash crop, of private landowners but at least it was monitored with allotted timeframes with an accounting for who was lining up to harvest for free that day. There were clearly rules. Tenants have a right to know if they are to become forced participants in a shelter outreach program, after signing a lease, serving the destitute and lower society at their home everyday without proper security monitoring of transients or the protection of security guards, which they would certainly have at any volunteer program outside their place of residence – which requires signing in with name, address and social security number.

    Trespassing: the frontlines of the rule of law in a civilized culture… Police departments across Southern California have gone on record stating that dumpster diving is not a real crime but merely a nuisance complaint that officers cannot respond to because they are too stretched in manpower protecting our cities from “serious” crimes. When did criminal trespassing become something other than a real crime, especially being that one must trespass deep into private property, even past gated areas, to get access to residential dumpsters?

    Perhaps the real reason for the lack of concern for the protection of innocent people and their property, even in So-cal’s upscale neighborhoods is based upon basic economics. Since there is little chance of securing revenue by fining poor and/or lawless criminals (with little to no property worth putting liens against, should they fail to pay), it is apparently a service with no financial return. Or, perhaps our law enforcement agencies have been instructed to stand down regarding trespassing laws by high-ranking city officials who are taking payoffs.

    Political Machinations: upholding the most basic of civil rights vs. an invitation to marshal law… Perhaps it’s political. Are city officials afraid that the world will notice that California appears to house slave-like labor via illegal immigrants from Mexico should they begin arresting people for residential trespassing? (Payouts from the collection of cans and bottles is an activity apparently necessary to supplement the survival, and/or horrible income of said slave labor.)

    Are they concerned that should they open up a debate for rightly enforcing trespassing laws, their political careers might be in jeopardy? After all, to date, governing officials have given their stamp of approval of trespassing via their obvious indifference. Thus, the destitute and lawless, like a pack of wild dogs running amuck in our communities, have free reign to frighten and terrorize local tax paying citizens.

    Are politicians pointedly ignoring trespassing laws, anticipating that denizens of the educated working class will beg for tougher laws in this arena? In turn, would this trigger the enacting of martial-type law upon scrupulous citizens within their own communities, limiting their ability to travel freely?
    Still, more informed citizens that are pushing for reform in the small cities in So-Cal are confident that the trespassing dumpster diving issue is only an indicator of the real issue that’s directly related to the Mexican drug cartel, also involving illegal immigrants, that is taking over our small cities; a disturbing issue that’s increasingly becoming common, yet, unspoken knowledge in Orange County, (i.e.,
    For whatever reason, local politicians aren’t talking. They continue to avoid one of today’s hottest and most highly debated topics, accommodating dumpster diving vs. enforcing laws against trespassers.

    Community Leaders Refuse to Act Against Criminal Trespassing

    A. Mayor of Rancho Santa Margarita, CA.-Gary Thompson &
    Chief of Police Services-Chuck Wilmot
    B. BRE Properties-Corp. Office, San Francisco, President &
    Chief Executive Officer- Constance B. Moore &
    Chairman of the Board- Robert A. Fiddaman

    Concerned individuals who contact the property management companies are informed that it’s a criminal matter and are instructed to call the police, only to discover that the police refer the caller back to the management companies, or arrive hours after the fact, simply stating it’s a nuisance complaint and there’s little they can do about it. This is the norm.

    The community leaders of Rancho Santa Margarita and the VIPs of BRE Properties are by no means the only guilty parties in So-Cal’s near criminal activities against their faithful citizens and/or tenants. However, they are certainly a perfect example of being supremely delinquent in their responsibilities resulting in the support of the rampant criminal trespassing taking place here in Southern California. This sad state of affairs shamefully puts So-Cal’s core – upstanding honest, hard working and law-abiding citizens who make a vital contribution to their communities – in harms way each and every day.
    Their current marketing campaigns that just so happen to dramatically cut their overhead and increase their leisure time, proclaiming that criminal trespassing via dumpster prowlers is totally benign is not to be believed.

    The stark reality is that today’s false dumpster diving persona perpetrated upon the public by the powers that be in fact proves to be a free pass offering a comfortable and save cover for the dreads of society to invade your home, and serves as camouflage for any would-be rapist, murderer, thief and hardened criminal who wishes to target unprotected and pacified, unsuspecting neighborhoods.

    It’s an untenable situation for someone to have to live with. Regarding their dumpster campaigns advocating complete tolerance, do the responsible parties openly expose their children and loved ones to the environment which the photos in this article clearly reveal, an environment that they’ve created via their blatant indifference? Certainly they would take swift action against criminal trespassers that hide behind the moniker of dumpster diver.

    What’s Wrong? What’s happened to Southern California?
    Criminal Trespassers vs. High-end Neighborhoods in RSM
    It is becoming increasingly more difficult in Rancho Santa Margarita, including within one of the nations largest multi-billion dollar property management companies (BRE Properties), to discern just who resides or dominates at your higher-end apartment homes and communities in So-Cal’s Orange County. With the persistent infestation of criminal trespassers (dumpster divers), a dangerous element seems to be taking over the more affluent neighborhoods in RSM. Prior to this recent influx, said neighborhoods were deemed safe and family-friendly, and offered a higher quality of lifestyle should one be able to afford the cost.

    This article highlights the serious concerns of those paying higher rents hoping to avoid living in bad neighborhoods and begs the question: where do the priorities of city officials and the powers that be lie? Is the criminal trespassing of dumpster divers in fact just the tip of the iceberg, an indicator of a deeper and much more sinister crime of corruption in the highest offices of city officials and billion-dollar corporations?
    Certainly, this is a most peculiar story. There is something very suspicious going on in So-Cal’s Orange County, RSM. It’s not normal that upstanding citizens in the more affluent neighbors not only put up with having prowlers on their private residential property; they don’t report it to the proper authorities. Are the citizens of Sol-Cal afraid of the illegal trespassers, or the powers that be? The debate continues today.

    Astute citizens pay property management companies and elect city officials who they feel are diligent and qualified to help support and ensure their safety and quality of life. However, regarding the current status quo of the City of Rancho Santa Margarita and BRE Properties, until Election Day and/or until your lease is up for renewal, as of August 2009 to all appearances you’re on your own, so hand out the pepper spray and stun guns to your women and children and have the video camera ready. The slums are coming to a neighborhood near you. (SEE VIDEO)

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