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I’d like to post a commentary on trash picking

I think at least in this economy it should be addressed. There is such a negative connotation to diving for trash.

Rifling through your neighbor’s garbage, a hobo knee deep in a filthy dumpster…

Any time waste items can be re-used by another person, it is not only bonus for all involved, but for the environment as well. It would benefit us all to find the level at which we are comfortable with this form of recycling.

There are so many levels.

The first is Craigslist. Post your old junk, buy someone else’s. Don’ t throw stuff out. You would be so surprised at what people show up to buy. (last week I sold cow poop at $5.00 a bag, no really). If you don’t want to deal with strangers and you don’t mind a trip to the post office, by all means Ebay. The site is popular for a reason.

The second is: The best place for swapping your unused items with someone who could use them. I have personally NEVER posted an item that someone did not show up to claim. Don’t make trash, help someone else out.

The third:

Side of the Road You see something put out that you could use? For goodness sake, stop and get it. Why fill a land fill if there is a perfectly good item out for grabs. If you should have a “da da da da” moment, just put it back out for someone else, and this time post a Freecycle ad.

Our personal score this week, about 500 terracotta pots in assorted sizes. I will re-paint these and fill them with herbs before re-selling them. A huge deal for us.

The fourth: The neighbors trash – OK now we are getting into the dark zone, but it is not rocket science to find out when trash night is. Drive around in some nicer neighborhoods and you will be amazed at what is considered trash. We have found some amazing pieces of furniture that needed light refinishing and electronics including a 27 inch TV with a built in VCR and DVD player, all perfectly functional.

Our best recent score: a ceiling fan brand new in the box with the price still on it from Home Depot for over $300.00. We did double check with the homeowners on this one to make sure it was really garbage.

The fifth level: Actual dumpsters Keep in mind many dumpsters are locked and/or secured. You are looking for open and unprotected ones. We do not go to this level often, but we know folks who do and it is amazing what gets thrown away. If anyone hassles you, say you were looking for boxes.

The last level: Breaking into dumpsters If you are willing to go this far, I can’t help you, but I will say we have had much better success going into a place of business, introducing ourselves, and then letting them know what we need.

We usually get what we need this way without having to get dirty.

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