E-DEMOCRACY | Scrappers in St. Paul


From: Kevin Gallatin Date: 3:05pm, Oct 05

My neighbor caught a scrapper on my property last week. He had trespassed into my fenced property and taken a spare section of my wrought iron fence and loaded it in his truck. He was coming back for more (actual junk this time) when my neighbor intervened. He told the guy to put it all back and that he’d have me put in the alley the next day if I wanted to get rid of it.

I subsequently put out the stuff that I really did want to go. Of course, the scrapper came by sight unseen and tore off the parts that were valuable to him and left me the plastic shell. At least he put it back neatly.

My conclusions:
1) I have a great neighbor!
2) Scrappers are selfish scofflaws and we should not encourage them.

From: Jennifer Duda Date: 4:33pm, Oct 05

This summer I turned my backyard into a huge vegetable garden, so I was outside quite a bit. You would not believe how frequently scrappers come through – I don’t think 3-4 times a day would be an exaggeration. Last year I don’t remember seeing as many, but I wasn’t out as much.

I emailed the list about a year ago – my husband I were moving an old washing machine around our garage forever, and finally we decided to put it out to see if it’d disappear – we thought no one would take it. It was gone in about 3 hours!!! I also put out a large amount of chicken wire not really caring either way if it was gone – I was organizing my garage – and it was gone by the next morning. We only have a couple feet of “driveway” into our alley, so I’m not sure how they can determine what people intend to get rid of.

They are also very brazen. Our neighbor had/has a dumpster and they have no problem driving up and digging through. I’m not particularly shy, so if I’m out and I see people driving up and down looking for stuff, I’ll go stare at them until they leave. But it is a bit creepy seeing how frequent it is.


From: Phil Ledermann Date: 3:20pm, Oct 06

We live on Saratoga for the past 13 years. We have developed relationships with men who come through looking for metal to be recycled. Usually what we put out one week (with a “FREE” sign) is gone in the next day or two. We consider it a service! 🙂 Sometimes it stays for quite some time. Then it goes in the trash. We have also had a gentleman or two who stopped by when we had a dumpster parked out front. They asked if we would mind if they went in the dumpster after metal. Always courteous and respectful. My sense was that these men were just trying to make a living and feed their families.

I agree that if a person is coming through who is not respectful and takes things that are not labeled “FREE”, he or she should be queried and the expectations of the neighborhood should be respectfully relayed to him/her. There should not be any reason to judge all by the actions of one or two.

From: Jan Carr Date: 3:56pm, Oct 06

There is no excuse for a scrapper that enters your yard to remove items that you may or may not have set aside for for removal.

But I would argue for more tolerance for the folks that cruise the alleys, and are willing to pick up metal that you have placed in the area where you keep your garbage cans.

I routinely put out scrap metal, but I also set out items that I no longer want, but may be of some use to others.

I therefore value the scrappers, since they save me up-charges from my normal garbage hauler.

Ms. Duda may find the numbers of people who do this work “creepy” — but the only thing I find distressing is the fact we have built a society where so many folks are forced to live on the fringe, and can earn money only be engaging in this kind of activity.

She also seems to find “dumpster diving” objectionable. I have done this myself when I could see that someone was throwing out wood which I could reuse. And conversely, when using a dumpster myself, I always try to segregate scrap metal (and any other items that may be reuseable) so these materials can easily be picked out of the dumpster. To my mind this is recycling, and I can’t understand why anyone would object to this practice.

From: Spencer Hermes Date: 1:37pm

While scrappers are a nuisance, and that is what they are, nothing more, we should be focused on other issues besides playing this back and forth game of who’s right and who’s wrong.

Scrappers, while they are a nuisance also are useful in removing things that we do not have time to dispose of personally. Think of them as a trash service that you do not have to pay. I have had dealings with several scrappers over the years. Some were very amicable and polite, while others had to be reminded that trash and personal property are not the same things. So here is a quick tip to those who have things stolen by them.


Now can we end this little tedious debate and get on with our lives?

Thank you,

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