Recycling Fail or Identity Theft?

Did your dad ever jokingly yell at you through the bathroom door, “Don’t fall in!“?

But seriously, folks, are we recycling humans now, too?? Check out the “legged” paper recycling bin above as seen this afternoon on the streets of Madrid. This is truly one for the “I Can’t Believe My Eyes” file.

So there I was in Madrid, Spain, not too far from the Puerta del Toledo, waiting for a friend when I saw this guy “milling about” the paper and glass recycling bins. He did look a bit suspicious, I have to admit. He looked left, then right, then literally climbed INSIDE the paper recycling bin through a tiny slot!

His friend, the one with his legs planted on Terra Firma above, was assisting him. HOW, you ask?! The guy who was literally “dumpster diving” was handing back certain paper items.

After about 5 minutes of this, they both crossed the street with their booty, opened  the boot/trunk of their car, and inserted handle bags and plastic bags full of paper. Not too much, but maybe the amount of about 5 or 10 reams of copy paper. Then they got in their car and sped off.

While seeing them stuff their trunk with paper I thought, “Hmmm… Surely these are identity thieves, ‘harvesting’ paper recycling bins for credit card  statements and other potentially sell-able items on the black market.” Either way, I imagine their intentions were anything but ecological.

I’m happy I get all my credit card and bank statements online but surely the occasional valuable document gets tossed in from time to time.

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6 Responses to Recycling Fail or Identity Theft?

  1. Heidi says:

    MadridMan, I have been following your site since 2005. Keep up the posts, I love them!

    Concerning your latest post, I must say this: Always shred your valuable documents! Buy a shredder, you’ll be glad you did 🙂 They’re relatively inexpensive…

    I lived in Spain from 2005-2007, teaching languages in Madrid, Logrono, and Huelva (so a little bit all over). If you care to and have some time to kill, feel free to visit my little old blog. I’m going back this summer for a much needed visit, so I am still writing in it every now and then.

    Keep on writing! 🙂 Hasta luego, H.

    • MadridMan says:

      Good advice to get a shredder. I know a lot of Americans who have shredders in their homes. But here in Madrid, space is usually so valuable that you have to really consider the purchase of a simple toaster! I don’t think I have space here for a paper shredder but, as I mentioned in the blog, I don’t get any bank or credit card statements by mail anymore, viewing everything online. I guess if thieves want my Natural gas account number they’re welcome to it.

      Nice blog you have! I’d found it on my own maybe a week back. Have a nice return to Spain this summer. If you’re in Madrid, feel free to get in touch.

      • Heidi says:

        Thank you, MadridMan! You were THE site that I visited for info on Madrid and all its surroundings before I left to live/work there…and I still visit it daily for interesting insights, pictures and videos.

        🙂 Once again, great job.


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  3. Sean says:

    Haha, that first image is brilliant! To be fair to them they could’ve just been after some paper for a printer? If they were after bank information it would’ve been worth waiting til night time, spending more time and grabbing more paper?

    I’m going to sit down now, my criminal mind is overflowing 🙂

    • MadridMan says:

      I seriously doubt they were looking for paper for printers. The paper they get already have some kind of print on one side. They seem to be pretty selective with long tongs to get just what they’d like.

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