Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Why Was This in the Garbage?

A question I ask myself all the time. My mother says I would not make a good garbage truck employee - it would never get to the site.

I don't consider myself a dumpster diver in that I'm searching for things. I stumble upon these items. I live in an apartment complex and have a higher exposure to people's trash, but also see things curbside. I'm documenting my finds to draw awareness that our society's disposable ways extend far beyond water bottles and plastic bags. Here is just a fraction of what I've found this summer (all of which has been donated to thrift shops, unless otherwise stated).

Four chairs, pulled out of the dumpster one evening (the garbage truck was due the next morning). One had a broken seat which needed repairing, but otherwise, they were fine. The greatest quality, no, but someone must have a need for them.



Gift bags, which based on the card envelopes outside, were for a 30th birthday. I saw the guy bringing these to the dumpster, and swiftly took them out.

I always thought gift bags were a more eco-friendly option than wrapping paper since they are reusable (my family has always reused them), but so often, they are tossed.


This sweet little 3 foot tall tree, which rotates when plugged in, almost never saw another Christmas. It was tossed into the dumpster in a white garbage bag.


In a box by the dumpster: a peach Eileen Fisher top (my mom claimed it immediately, and could not believe it was tossed), two bags, and a wine caddy.

A baby's seat, on the side of the road. I rescued it, but couldn't fit all the baby items into my car, including a high chair.

I stumbled upon a huge bounty of garage sale leftovers on a main road that were destined for the landfill. I couldn't salvage some of the bigger items, such as furniture, but I did rescue many smaller items, include an entire box filled with Halloween costumes. This is the perfect time to be donating Halloween, Thanksgiving and winter decorations to thrift shops (this house was right down the road from two of them).

Along with the costumes, sweet little girls clothes. I washed the clothes and costumes before donating them.

Stuffed animals. Made in China, snuggled with for a bit, then tossed in the landfill.

The list is endless, and dispiriting. So many people are in need right now in this country, and throwing these items in the garbage is money thrown down the drain for everyone.

Reporting from Bergen County, New Jersey, the land of excess for some.

2 comments:

Candles by Nature said...

It's such a shame. hasn't anyone ever heard of craigslist, freecycle and, of course, the good ol' thrift stores? My boyfriend can attest that I am a hopeless pack rat...I'm convinced that there will always be another use for every little thing!

Catherine @ The Vegan Good Life said...

People seem to want instant results in our society, and throwing it out is as instant as it gets.

Fact: the recycling bin is right next to the garbage bin in my apartment complex, yet still so many don't recycle. Laziness? Ignorance? I don't understand.

That's great you can repurpose items. I try to too, and am always passing on items through thrift shops, swaps, etc.