The Trash Blog

I Spy

The 'Where's Waldo?' of scrap metal.

The ‘Where’s Waldo?’ of scrap metal.

I spy with my little eye a:

sinkfreezergas grilllawn chairslab trollies (at least 4! who would have guessed that was such a popular thing to get rid of… disgruntled scientists?) • wire mesh (useful for keeping chickens/squirrels/stray cats/pesky toddlers out of the vegetable garden) • house fan (great for chic 70s décor) • golf cluboffice chairgenerally useful pipe-shaped itemsband sawrolling bookshelf  (useful if you don’t want to get up for a new book) • drain snake (Phil should have picked this up to unplug our shower) • bed framepoles for collapsible tentbroiling pan (useful for catching juices from succulent steak) • Ikea desk • frame for outdoor patio swingmovie set lightingStair Master/Nordic Track

My overwhelming emotion during our tour of the Vancouver Landfill last Monday: desire.

Over the last few years I’ve become small-time thrift store enthusiast. I am not yet on the level of thrift store/hoarding addict, and so don’t yet qualify for any reality television spots, but I have saved many a buck on stylish clothes from consignment shops (I will more fully expound on the glories of consignment shop shopping for the indecisive shopper in a future post). Besides the joys of shopping for chic wear at great prices, I have also come to appreciate the genius of finding unique gifts at second hand shops (also at gloriously low prices). Phil and I even furnished our entire first apartment second hand – everything. And when you are starting out married life with only a part-time job between the two of you, hard wood furniture for an Ikea-competitive price is a dream come true.

So, what I’m saying is: I have come to appreciate the second hand deal.

As we were rolling up to the landfill’s entrance we were stuck behind this truck coming to drop off some things. It was difficult to get a good picture of this through our windshield, but if you look closely you can see some pretty great finds in this guy’s bed including a bookshelf, and a gas grill.

How difficult would it be to cut those yellow ropes and steal this man's grill?

How difficult would it be to cut those yellow ropes and steal this man’s grill?

Now, admittedly, I don’t actually know if that grill works.

But does it?

Could it be that this guy is just upgrading to a better grill and no longer has need of it? Or is there something small that could be repaired? I was seriously tempted to jog over to him and ask him if I could have it… but not only do I not need a gas grill, Fr. Ken’s Oldsmobile Allero could not accommodate it.

A big part of our tour centered on several piles where garbage was being sorted out for specific purposes. In order not to bore you too much, I am just going to focus on the scrap metal pile here. Our guide George described that some of this metal would be recovered and melted down for other uses. But not all of it – or even most of it.

(Before I continue, I want to note that the items that make it into this pile are only those brought to the landfill by individuals who have already sorted them out themselves from the rest of their garbage. So if any of same these items are put into garbage cans for regular pickup here in Vancouver, they will just go straight to the landfill for burial. George was very confident in the moral compass of Vancouverites to do the right thing and bring these materials to the landfill themselves… but I am not so trusting as George.)

I know of a lot of people who would like a gas grill for the summer and a collapsible tent to put over it for their beach cookout, I know gardeners with rodent/toddler problems, students setting up new apartments in need of beds and desks, heck, I even know a lot of poor scientists! I can’t help but wonder – what if we could connect people wanting to get rid of stuff with people needing those same items?

I know this isn’t a novel idea – it’s the whole theory behind thrift shops. But it seems like so much more of it could be done. Especially if we didn’t mind so much whether our things were new or not.

If you couldn’t find them before, here’s the key:

I Spy

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This entry was written by Margaret and published on February 25, 2013 at 4:28 am. It’s filed under Landfills, Metal, Recycling and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink. Follow any comments here with the RSS feed for this post.

One thought on “I Spy

  1. Chris Stewart on said:

    Nice. Your posts, and Phil’s, always leave me wanting more. How much gets recycled vs how much gets dumped? How much energy is produced by the dump to warm the green houses?

    Funny about Father Ken’s car. Tell him that I love him and that I am praying for both his and Father Al’s missions.

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