No Shame in Second Hand Recycling

A majority of people might feel funny about second hand recycling, or as it’s more commonly referred to, dumpster diving, but the truth is it can be a frickin’ treasure hunt with a bounty of (mostly) conventional rewards. Of course I’m not talking any old dumpster in any old part of town, no. The gold mine comes around this time of year, and the locale is college campuses. Those college kids love to throw shit out.

Printers, mini-refrigerators, cameras, computers, wet suits, pesos, bongs, and all kinds of gear can be obtained simply by looking in and around college campus dumpsters. Then you have things like totes, bags, racks, and furniture of all kinds. Now I’m not advocating one to grab a shovel and start digging to the bottom of an industrial dumpster. Heck you can, but that’s not what I’m suggesting. Most kids leave their useful “trash” to the side of the dumpster even, or you can likely get a good view of things just right on the top.

And to hell with feeling uncomfortable like it affects some false sense of pride, like one is too good to collect perfectly useful items once operated by another. Or you can’t be seen by a dumpster cause girls or guys won’t go out with you or something. You can and should avoid the TV covered in coffee grounds and condoms, but there’s plenty of reasonably clean gear in easy reach. That is to assume it hasn’t been sitting long, and hasn’t endured harsh weather conditions. Of course plenty of things can withstand the elements for a short period and be okay. Textbooks are another find which can prove to be easy cash, assuming the condition is adequate. You won’t break the bank but it’s some good spending money.

I like to think most people recycle in their daily life, though I’m probably wrong. Those who do, toss their La Croix cans, beer bottles, and milk jugs etc. in the environmentally kind blue bin, to then be picked up and taken off to the magical recycling factories where they re-spawn and begin anew in one form or another. Undoubtedly a very positive thing to do for the earth and environment.

So why not recycle like this?

The benefits and possibilities are abundant. Mother Earth will smile upon you and you’ll hold a temporary slot on her scroll of the environmentally savvy. You could even start a little pawn style business with the treasures you find. Or even put on a dumpster art show. Nobody is stopping you from letting “trash” be your creative outlet.

Food is another, though far more questionable, commodity to be retrieved from dumpsters. This isn’t so much college campuses (though it can be) as it is grocery chains and markets, which obviously comes as no surprise. While I gravitate more towards household items, there certainly are people who find perfectly fine packaged food out back, other than your run of the mill hobo. In fact, I recently saw an American Ninja Warrior episode (I was in a Chicago hotel room with limited channels get off my back) and the dude who won the challenge was an avid dumpster diver from California, primarily for food. If an American Ninja Warrior advocates it, you know it’s legit.

Not only does dumpster diving serve a useful purpose by saving you money on daily products, you make that much of a difference at the dumps and landfills for things that work perfectly fine. If you’re creative and willing you could even salvage and utilized broken items for other purposes. Knowing so much working “trash” is tossed out by the tons at the end of every school year is a shame. But there’s no shame in being in the thick of the recycling hustle, and doing good for you and for Spaceship Earth.