Author Topic: Is There an Etiquette of Trash Cans?  (Read 3790 times)

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RhetorToBe

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Is There an Etiquette of Trash Cans?
« on: August 05, 2010, 03:58:24 PM »
BG: Since my city passed an ordnance banning smoking within some-number-of-feet in front of public buildings, the ashtrays that used to stand outside my office building have been removed.  Some ignore the ban and choose to smoke near the buildings [[Not trying to start a smoking-ban debate! :)]]

For the past week, a gentleman has been disposing of his cigarette butts in the trash can that sits near the door of my office (which is actually a small computer lab, so is more "public space" than most offices).  I hadn't noticed until I came to open the office one day and was overwhelmed by the smell of stale cigarette.  The gentleman smokes hand-rolled cigarettes, and the smell of the tobacco is quite pungent.  I didn't realize he was the one who had left the cigarette until I noticed him pause in my doorway and toss another butt in the can.

On one hand, I appreciate the fact that he isn't simply throwing the butts on the ground, as many others do.  OTOH...they smell!

Is there an etiquette to trash cans?  Would I be out of line to request that he use another can (an outside can, that is).  Or is it decidedly Special Snowflake to try to dictate what people throw away!

Thanks!

Animala

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Re: Is There an Etiquette of Trash Cans?
« Reply #1 on: August 05, 2010, 04:06:41 PM »
Cigarette butts don't belong in trash can.  In fact it is a rather dangerous habit.  It isn't necessarily something that is your job to address though.   If it were me I'd probably move the trash can, assuming that I can.

HeebyJeebyLeebee

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Re: Is There an Etiquette of Trash Cans?
« Reply #2 on: August 05, 2010, 04:26:02 PM »
Butts can ignite the contents of the garbage can.

I'd let building maintenance or property management know.  They can decide how to handle it. 
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Darcy

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Re: Is There an Etiquette of Trash Cans?
« Reply #3 on: August 05, 2010, 04:44:06 PM »
I've seen quite a few trash fires on campus because students dispose of butts where they please--fires in the ash trays, fires in trash cans, a fire in the bushes/wood chips next to the performing arts building (that could have injured people and caused severe property damage).

Notify someone--it's dangerous.

WillyNilly

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Re: Is There an Etiquette of Trash Cans?
« Reply #4 on: August 05, 2010, 05:03:30 PM »
Honestly cigarette butts stink.  But he's probably immune to the odor and doesn't realize its an issue.  if you are friendly with him, I don't think it would be rude to ask him to use another trash can.  Just smile and be gracious and ask "Hey Bob, I don't mean to be a hassle but I've noticed you are throwing your cigarettte butts in the office trash.  Honestly I sit right here and I have to say, I can smell them.  would you mind using a less public or perhaps an outdoor trash can please?  Thanks!"

Now he might say no, if so, don't fight him.  Just sort of change topics and then bring it up with eh building maintenence staff or your boss, as it is a fire hazard and the smell is a business issue - I know if I had to endure the smell of a cigarette butt I'd be quite turned off as a customer.

Onyx_TKD

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Re: Is There an Etiquette of Trash Cans?
« Reply #5 on: August 05, 2010, 07:53:03 PM »
Can you ask the building manager or whoever would need to approve this whether they or you could place a small sign on top of the trash can? If the smoking area was recently moved, I suspect more than one person might have the idea to dispose of butts in the can.

"Please do not dispose of cigarette butts in the trash can. An ashtray can be found in [new smoking area]."
Or, if you think you need to specify why: "Please do not dispose of cigarette butts in the trash can due to fire hazard and smell. An ashtray can be found in [new smoking area]."

If you use the sign, a symbol (like the no smoking symbol, but for "no cigarette butts") might also be helpful to catch the eye so they read the sign.

whatsanenigma

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Re: Is There an Etiquette of Trash Cans?
« Reply #6 on: August 05, 2010, 07:59:31 PM »
I agree with Onyx_TKD.

I wouldn't approach this gentleman at all myself, or even tell the building people about this one particular person. I would just say "I have noticed that this happens and I worry about the risk of fire", something like that.


Shoo

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Re: Is There an Etiquette of Trash Cans?
« Reply #7 on: August 05, 2010, 08:57:27 PM »
Any number of things can make a trash can stink, not just cigarette butts.  I think old tuna salad or some other rotting foods smell worse than cigarettes.  I'd make my concerns about the risk of fire and take them to the building maintenance people.

TiredMum

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Re: Is There an Etiquette of Trash Cans?
« Reply #8 on: August 05, 2010, 09:38:49 PM »
Yes -  Immanent fire hazard and an it's an extra nasty smelling fire to boot :( 




EnoughAlready22

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Re: Is There an Etiquette of Trash Cans?
« Reply #9 on: August 06, 2010, 09:17:10 AM »
How about having a trash can placed outside?  Most smokers I know will "field strip" their cigarette when they are done and put the butt in a trash can instead of littering.  This way the fire part is separated and put out, and the butt is not thrown on the ground. 

Nibsey

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Re: Is There an Etiquette of Trash Cans?
« Reply #10 on: August 06, 2010, 09:40:32 AM »
How about having a trash can placed outside?  Most smokers I know will "field strip" their cigarette when they are done and put the butt in a trash can instead of littering.  This way the fire part is separated and put out, and the butt is not thrown on the ground. 

POD this has been my experience especially if they're smoking rollies.
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Carnation

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Re: Is There an Etiquette of Trash Cans?
« Reply #11 on: August 06, 2010, 10:42:57 AM »

a fire in the bushes/wood chips next to the performing arts building



You've just cleared up a several years old mystery as to why the wood chips were smoldering on a median in the middle of the grocery store parking lot.


drafter_lady

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Re: Is There an Etiquette of Trash Cans?
« Reply #12 on: August 07, 2010, 09:45:09 AM »
can you just move the trash can away from the door? put it on the other side of your desk or under it or someplace so he can't get to it.

baconsmom

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Re: Is There an Etiquette of Trash Cans?
« Reply #13 on: August 07, 2010, 07:21:33 PM »
As long as he's disposing of the burning end of the butt before putting it into the can, there's nothing wrong with this. What's he supposed to do, when there are no ashtrays? I lived in a city in college that banned smoking, got rid of almost all outdoor ashtrays, and then complained about all the butts on the ground. Um, duh?!
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Balletmom

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Re: Is There an Etiquette of Trash Cans?
« Reply #14 on: August 07, 2010, 10:45:02 PM »
How about two trash cans?

I keep two trash cans in my classroom. The one by my desk may contain confidential papers, coffee, and my lunch leftovers, which I don't particularly care to broadcast.

The one by the pencil sharpener is for students, which also means when they feel sick, they run towards it and not my desk.

OP, can you get another trash can for your office area, and move the "public" one a bit farther away?