The old saying goes "one man's trash is another man's treasure." But sometimes--how could that NOT be considered treasure?
The waste system we have developed as humans guarantees people will throw out something that will be useful to the person who finds it or has to collect it. The wealthy seemingly have unlimited resources.
And eventually, even us peons may come across something really really nice that we can take home and use for ourselves.
Sexy Sax Time
When I was a kid my dad worked for a company that hauled away dumpsters and at one point found an old alto sax complete in the box.
Ended up playing it for four years up until high school when it was stolen, couldn't play after that since my family couldn't afford a rental let alone pay for a new one.
A Chest Of Hopes And Dreams
A Lane cedar chest. I was helping my dad clean out this lady's garage and she said as long as we were there, we might as well take that, too. She said she always hated the smell of cedar but her husband wouldn't let her get rid of it and now that he was dead, she was sending it on its way!
The veneer was never in great shape but it still keeps my wool items safe. I've had it for over 30 years now.
Let's Head To France
My little brother was emptying out a client's basement and everything was going to be thrown away so my brother was told to keep anything he wanted.
He saw a nice looking bike and took it. Turns out it was a Dahon mu p8 30th anniversary limited edition and in perfect condition. From what I found on it, it goes for over $4K.
Some of these items are just plain luxury, thrown in the garbage.
Stock Up That N64...But Not The Corpses
My dad was a trash man when I was growing up. He would always be bringing cool stuff home to us. He used to always say that the "poor" neighborhoods had the most trash and they threw away literally everything.
The two best ones that I can think of was a brand new BMX bike and like 20 Nintendo 64 games that he found at a video rental store.
Also once at the transfer station one of his co-workers found a "dummy arm" in the big pile of trash. He pulled it and it ended up being a dead guy, the police later determined that it was a homeless person that got picked up and died when the trash truck compacted him.
A Chaise, If You Will
When I was a kid I found a couch. It wasn't very big, but thats why it was so great. 10 year old me was able to carry it all the way home by myself. (About a block and a half.) This was before kids having cell phones were huge so I didn't call my parents about it first and they were at the store anyways. So I took the couch home and put it in my room. It was pretty dated... Made of some material I've never encountered again so far, but I thought I was THE SH*T. I had a whole couch in my room.
How many 10 year olds had couches in their room? Well my parents came home and clearly weren't happy, but given I carried it up to the second story and got it into my room they let me keep it. (My down stairs neighbor helped me.)
I felt like a king. I had a couch. I had a big box TV for my play station. I had it all. Simpler times.
Found a 55 inch tv next to the dumpster 4 years ago. It was missing 1 hdmi port on the side. It looked like someone might have tripped and ripped it out. Anyway, I opened it up googled the motherboard serial number and found a brand new replacement for like $60 less then 25min away....needless to say I called ahead on my day off picked it up and it works like a charm. Still use the tv to this day.
55in Sony 2012 lcd tv. I have chromecast with google tv hooked up to it now and it's awesome.
Itty Bitty Kitty Committee
I worked as a garbage man in 1972. A small stray cat jumped into the back of the hopper to look for food. I took him home and named him saigon.
This was the best thing. Second best thing someone threw out an old pair of skis. There was snow on the ground and me and the other guy each took a ski and stood on it and held onto the truck, great fun.
Third best we found an entire case of "brylcream" (look it up) and me and the other guy had brylcream fights all day, total mess (I stripped off before going into my house after work). Worst things a garbage can that had live coals in it that started our truck on fire.
What was once trash to some folks are now priceless memories for others.
Silver And Gold
Not me but my brother. Someone apparently threw out grandpas stuff from the attic after he passed away. This was the last scheduled pickup at the house and everything was already moved out, nobody living there.
Driving an automated (claw to grab and dump) truck, my brother was irritated there were these 2 bowling bags he had to get out to throw in the truck.
He realized they seemed a bit heavy, so he opened them to see why. Inside there was real silver silverware/flatware. He ended up selling it for scrap prices to a jeweler and got $3000.
How A Trampoline Could Have Changed My Life
My father was a garbage man who also did clean-outs for homes and businesses, where they'd rip apart the entire building and throw everything out in their dumpsters. He worked on a ton of really massive houses, some worth 10s of millions of dollars, one was worth 40 million and wasn't even the permanent residence.
Best things I got as a kid: A pretty much unused trampoline with a net and everything.
A go-kart that my dads friend was able to fix up and we used all the time (I live on a dead end).
And once he cleaned out a deli that was closing down, and we no joke had unlimited Snapples and Sodas of every flavor for almost a year. I'd drink the Snapples while out on the trampoline. I used the hell out of all 3 of those things in my childhood
My father was a garbage man when I was born. I don't remember because I was like 3 months old. But my first dog was in the trash. My dad stopped. Picked up a box and heard some shuffling on the inside and there were two puppies. My dad kept one and the driver kept the other.
They were brother and sister (my dad assumed). He kept the male and named him Jasper. He was literally my best friend growing up. I had him for 13 years and my dad tells me the job was worth it just for that dog.
He called the police and animal control on the residence but doesn't know what happened after that. All I know is I'm 37 and still love that dog so much. I'm so thankful my dad saved him and his sister.
You Never Know Someone's Personal Life
My dad's been a garbage man for 30 years, and on one of his routes he had this super sweet old couple that always waved hi and brought him snacks. Well one day as he was dumping their cans a bag fell out. Inconvenient but happens every once in awhile, just gotta pick it up and you're on your way.
He gets out and starts picking it up when he sees a really nice black leather leash. That's nice, must have a dog, he'll have to ask to see him sometime. Further along he sees a large black harness. Must be a.. big dog. And then he finds them. A whip, ball gag, and a nipple tassel.
And there he realizes, that's no dog he wants to see. And so, the thought he's been pushing back in his mind emerges. "F**k... I'm touching old people bondage gear" He left very quickly and throughly cleaned his hands. But sadly he can't clean his mind of the image.
Friend of mine was a teacher in public schools. We live in a University town.
He would be off for the summer when the University quarter ended and the students moved out of their apartments. He would dumpster dive and pick up all the small appliances, coffee makers, blenders, sometimes a TV or computer plus lots of silverware plates etc. Basically he picked up all the small things one needs to live in an apartment.
He would store all this in his garage and in the fall, he would have a huge garage sale and sell the same stuff back to the incoming students.
He always made lots of money at this.
Lots Of Money For My Own Car Upgrade
I'm not a garbage man by trade but more of a hobbyist. best dumpster dive ever was a Ford dealership that threw out an ENTIRE dumpster of new Ford Lincoln Mercury service manuals.
They cost hundreds of dollars per set new. It was winter time and sooo cold outside, and it took me two hours to empty the dumpster but I got them all. Filled my minivan with no seats in it floor to ceiling. I sold them all on ebay over 18 months or so and made about $10k.
The Things You Leave Behind
I worked as a showcleaner in Melbourne a few years ago and we would sometimes get leftovers from shows and fairs and other events. For example after a Coffee Fair we got hundreds of cases of all sorts of plant based milk. They were still on the pallets and the trader didn't want to load them back up. At a beer and wine fair the same happened, but with wine and craft beer. We had quite a few parties "sponsored" from that one.
Then there was this one big concert where a huge storm hit and everyone left everything they had brought behind to hide in their cars and leave. We found camping furniture and lots of closed beverages and food. One coworker even found a bunch of bundled up cash, which amounted to a couple hundred bucks. And, since it was a concert of a band a lot of older people listened to, we found coke, handed it over to the authorities and later were told it was enough to buy a small car from the market value it represented.
But the coolest thing that happened at one of the shows was not something we found. There was a big classic car event at the show grounds and it had some of the finest and rarest cars you could imagine. At the end, we were cleaning as usual, and this guy comes up saying he saw us during the shows checking out some of the cars. At first I thought he'd berate us, because we were just the cleaners and should focus on the job. But then he invites us to ride along if we wanted to. So that was the time I got a childhood dream fulfilled and was allowed to drive in a '69 Dodge Charger R/T.
This experience and the fact that we got to go backstage with some of the coolest bands was the big plus of an otherwise hard and dirty job.
Why Throw Out Your Ski Things?!
We have a good friend who garbage picks. He has done so for quite awhile now as a hobby. For years he was the "ski Fairy". We have 4 kids and they ran through kid skis, boards, poles, boots, masks, like crazy as all kids do as they grow. He and his wife and son all skied, and he would pick up good stuff when he saw it on his rounds.
Every so often we would pull into the drive and leaning against the garage would be skis or boots or other equipment that he thought might work for one or more of the kids. The ski fairy had made a delivery.
He has found lots of nice things and more valuable stuff, but still my favorite story is his finding money. Change. Not like $6 in a drawer or box. Buckets of it. $780 or so.
Not mistakenly thrown out. Placed with garbage. And, $780 in change is heavy. No mistake it was being tossed. I guess not worth counting.
Money Money Money...Must Be Funny...It's A Garbage World
Not a garbage specialist, but my buddy ran maintenance at the local land fill, which is located along an extremely busy highway. One of their duties was to cleanup the shoulder of the highway a mile in either direction of the main driveway each day.
Cash. Money. He would find cash most days on the side of the road. People driving with their windows down and the dollar bills would fly out the window. Sometimes 5 bucks or other times he would pickup as much as 50 to 85 dollars. Although he said it was more lower amounts commonly with the higher dollars being every once and a while.
There you have it. People throw out TVs, trampolines, and even pets. People get their best friends from these garbage stops.
But seriously, don't throw out your pets. Please call an ASPCA if you are that desperate.