Friday, May 25, 2012

When is Garbage Really Just Garbage?


When is Garbage… Really… Just Garbage?

One person’s trash is another’s treasure.   I’ve seen proof of this over the last fortnight.
“Big Garbage” pick-up for spring happens next Monday.   For two weeks, people have been cleaning, creating piles, large and small, at curbside for the semi-annual garbage collection of big garbage.   We don’t have much to contribute; what we do have, we’ll put out Sunday night.  We live simply and don’t accumulate, keep clutter to a minimum.
One neighbour must be doing housecleaning in a big way.  He has a ten foot high cone of garbage in front of his house.  Another has garbage spread in a 50 foot swathe across the front of her property.
Treasure hunters are out in vans, in small trucks, in large trucks and in large trucks with trailers; they are cruising the streets.  They idyll their engines, move slowly, drive by the piles, then back up, leap out, inspect an item and throw it into their truck or back onto the pile.  Pickers drive by at all hours.  I’ve seen men with flashlights, after midnight mining the treasures.
I admit it.  I am fascinated.  What are they going to do with a cracked toilet, a broken sink, a single drawer, a television older than dirt, a defunct lawn chair or a mattress that looks like someone died on it, after suffering a messy illness?  I understand taking items that can be reclaimed for the metal, wood that can be re-purposed or plant pots that could be reused.  Perhaps someone who has mechanical abilities can salvage a lawnmower or a weed trimmer, a radio or a computer.   But, perhaps I am limited by my own imagination.  Perhaps…
Since our lifestyle is simple, most of our garbage is really just garbage.  We don’t have anything exciting for the pickers, no treasures, except an old rocking chair with broken rungs.  Someone who has carpentry skills and wood working tools could repair it.  We don’t and can’t.  I hope someone will want it and will fix it and use it. 
But…oh dear.  I have to confess.   We have skulked over to the ten foot pile and found treasures… two pieces of pressure treated lumber.  Why treasures? 
Because we can use them, of course.  
His trash has become our treasure.

2 comments:

Crafty Green Poet said...

we don't have those types of 'big garbage' pick ups (here if you have a big item you want rid of you are supposed to contact the council and arrange for them to pick up).

It's amazing though what you can find, we found a beautiful old wooden ottoman with a blue velvet lid soon after we moved here. Someone had just left it out in the street

Carol Steel 5050 said...

Hi CGP,
It's helpful to live in a place where the town collects big garbage twice a year. It's amazing what people will throw out. While there is much garbage, there are many pieces of furniture that can be refinished and re-purposed. Recycling from another's trash feels fine.