Today when I stopped in at one of the places I sleep from time to time I was informed that one of the trash cans at the residence had come up missing since my last visit. When I heard this I automatically caught a chill up my spine. It’s that same feeling you get on the road when you pass the highway patrol. Whether you’re speeding or not the uneasy feeling just overwhelms the body for a second and fight or flight just kicks in.
I instantly knew I had nothing to worry about because I don’t throw sensitive information haphazardly in the trash. I burn anything sensitive and scatter the ashes in a flower bed or garden. However, I can’t help but let thoughts of trouble roll through my mind when the trash comes up missing.
For those of you unaware let me explain the deal with trash. When trash is discarded and set out by the curb it is considered trash and unwanted by the original owner. If you set it by the curb the city garbage man is not the only person with rights to the trash. Anybody can come get it. This is quite possibly the easiest way to find lots of information about someone and it may be incriminating or just incredibly embarrassing. For instance, let’s say you or someone in your family is suffering from a disease and you throw away the medicine bottle. You just informed a trash investigator what disease you may have. How about a used plastic cup or cigarette butt. You just gave up your DNA!!
If you throw away the packages to a certain type of food or drink on a regular basis someone could figure out your diet and plot to poison you. There are several cases where consumer products have been purposely poisoned and made it to the mouth of consumers. That was the end of them. In 1982 seven Chicago residents lost their lives due to someone lacing Tylenol with cyanide. They purchased Tylenol off the store shelves, took the drug and then died. The case is dubbed “The Tylenol Murders” and it still has yet to be solved 32 years later. That all seems a bit extreme but it has happened and you should be aware.
Now let me give you some info that you really should consider. As a privacy oriented person you may have a post office box in a town that is a couple of hours away that you go to check once a week or so. (At least this is what I recommend so that mail doesn’t come to your house). If this mail was to get mixed up in your trash and your trash is intercepted you just gave away the location of your PO box. This all goes for any other private information related to other addresses you may be associated with or any phone numbers you have.
I have long recommended getting a burn barrel or one of those little chimineas from the hardware store if you don’t have a fire place. Burn anything that will burn is my advice. Let the trash man deal with the dirty diapers and things like that. That is as long as you are supposed to have a baby in your house…….