Each year, over 10,000 door or car keys end up in rubbish tips as a result of forgetful owners, leading some to attempt to retrieve them with potentially dangerous consequences.
Research by leading the Uks waste management agency, has revealed that citizens across the UK are losing their keys every day – and that a surprising amount of them end up in rubbish bins, often to be lost to waste disposal services shortly after.
BusinessWaste.co.uk say simple carelessness was blamed for the majority of these key-based disasters, with many respondents knocking keys off kitchen counters or seeing their expensive car keys ending up in the rubbish by accident, but some had altogether funnier (although equally expensive) stories.
Having a moment of confusion seemed to be a common theme behind some of the more comical stories from people BusinessWaste.co.uk spoke with.
Jamie, 39, from Leeds, said he was distracted enroute to work when he made this error:
“I was holding a crisp packet and my car key in the same hand and casually threw them both in bin on the way into the office – I only realised what I’d done at lunch time!”
Whereas Sally, 33, from Bristol, took it one step further and threw her keys not in the bin – but all the way into a waste removal lorry!
“I woke up late and ran down the road with a bin bag after the bin truck – and when I walked back to the house I realised I still had a bin bag in my hand and my door keys were being carried away in the bin lorry. Luckily my roommates were at home to let me back in, but they’ve never let me forgot it.”
One frustrated mum, 54, from Sheffield, said her son managed to deliberately throw the bag containing his keys away in a fit of post-exam excitement, telling researchers: “My idiot son, Johnny, threw his school bag into a skip after he’d finished his A Levels… only the bag had his back door key in it!”
Despite the amusing stories of keys lost across the country, researches were keen to point out that some of the survey’s respondents also took it upon themselves to turn up at local landfill or recycling sites to hunt for their keys – and that this was a dangerous course of action.
Mark Hall BusinessWaste.co.uk spokeperson, noted:
“It’s frustrating and often expensive to lose your keys for your home or car, and in some cases can land you in hot water if you lose work keys and cause a security risk. But turning up at landfill or recycling sites is dangerous and, with large machinery and all manner of potentially dangerous waste around, you could end up injured or even in trouble with the police if you trespass into restricted areas.”
The best course of action for preventing key-related problems is prevention as replacing lost keys – particularly for cars – can be expensive, not to mention disruptive to your daily routine as you struggle to get access to your vehicle or home.
Many households use hooks or magnetic holders to keep their keyrings in full view to reassure them they haven’t binned an all-important bunch of keys, and BusinessWaste.co.uk agreed this was the safest course of action.
Mark Hall concluded:
“Prevention is definitely better than cure in this case – we get daily calls from people wanting to come and look for their lost keys but unfortunately there is nothing we can for help once it reaches that point. Once we have the waste collected it would be almost impossible to find something as small as a key – we worked out it could take a team of 100 people ten years or longer to find it, so not much use to a busy commuter who needs their car.
“Some people do get angry with us for not being able to return their lost keys. Of course we would if we could, but the fact is that sadly we can’t, so please keep an eye on your keys and the rest of your valuables to avoid being disappointed – we can’t help with your lost wedding rings either!