JD recently wrote a post about how he picked up someone else’s discard pile  (reuse!) on his way home from work one day and that got me thinking about what sort of goodies I’ve ever resurrected from the dead. Now, I don’t mean dumpster diving here, that’s not to say I’m “above” it, just that the thought of rummaging through a dumpster just sounds way too dangerous and nasty/dirty for me; what I mean is just picking from stuff put on the side of the road or outside a building, where no entry into a dumpster is required. Just the thought of stepping into or rummaging through some of the stuff I’ve thrown out makes my stomach churn.
My best haul was definitely was an old television (and remote!) in the first apartment I lived at in Maryland. At the apartment complex, if your trash didn’t fit in the trash chute (or too heavy or dangerous to throw down it) most people just left it sitting there besides the chute door. That door was on one side of the elevator, my room was approximately 20 feet away from the door and so when I went out one day to toss my own trash, I saw an otherwise good looking television sitting there smiling at me. I brought it back to my room, plugged it in and turned it on – it worked! It’s amazing what college students will throw out rather than take with them…
A completely working computer, albeit a little on the old side, was left outside the trash at another apartment complex but this time I was driving out and dropping off some recycling when I saw it. When I powered the bad boy up at home last that night, I found that it was running Windows 98 (this was two years ago, but still way past the Best Used By date for Win98) but seemed to be in pretty good shape – definitely would make for a useful internet surfing computer if I ever needed one. Or could make its way to the donation pile but it’ll have a much better life this way than leaking toxic chemicals into some landfill.
I remember going around school around the summer and picking up all sorts of crazy discards from college kids looking to lighten their load. The number of dorm-room refrigerators that people tossed was staggering. One of my friends scoured the dorms for them and just took them (they weren’t the rental ones left out for pickup, these were legitimate discards), selling them on Craigslist for $60 a pop. Me? I just snagged one for my own personal use.
What’s your best discard pickup?