I actually read a classified ad in the local newspaper that read,
“Got Garbage? I will pick up your garbage for free.”
It listed a phone number to call “anytime” along with the man’s name. I absolutely had to call this guy because I was so intrigued as to why this man (or any man) would want my garbage. I’ve heard of the old adage that trash may be treasure to some, but c’mon now, plain old garbage? This fellow had to be a lunatic.
As it turns out, the man is not crazy in the least but he is unemployed at the moment and apparently has a lot of time on his hands. One day, his neighbor’s trashcan fell over and spilled out on their street. Being a good neighbor, he went over to pick up the garbage and found some interesting things in the rubbish that could be recycled for cold hard cash.
Aside from the soda cans that garner a five-cent refund (New York and many other states encourage recycling) the man also found some other items that definitely had some more life left to live. He began to sort through the garbage and in the process he gave birth to an idea. He told me that he wondered how many people are throwing away soda cans because they don’t want to be bothered returning them for the deposit. He also wondered how many people just toss out items that could be fixed with a little creative work. His neighbor surely wasn’t the only person.
He finally decided to start a small business advertising free garbage pickup. The only caveat is that the garbage will be screened before it is disposed of. Anything of value will be removed and this allows him the opportunity to redeem those empty soda cans, fix those broken kitchen chairs and reuse or resell those unwanted appliances.
I asked him, “How’s business?”
His response, “It’s booming. I get tons of calls each day.”
I wondered if he was making any money considering that he has to pay to dispose of the remaining garbage at the local dump. He explained that there really isn’t all that much leftover. The leftover food is placed in his backyard compost bin and he recycles the paper, plastics and metal waste. What remains after that is considerably smaller than what he has picked up from his customers. Can we call them customers if they don’t pay anything?
The most fascinating tidbit was that he has located varying markets that will actually purchase his compost material! He told me he has tons of compost now. I bet he does.
Simply amazing. I think we can agree that this is a fine example of good old-fashioned American ingenuity at it’s best.The next time you go to take out the trash, check up and down the street for the guy in the blue pickup truck. I understand he has painted on the side of the truck, “Got Garbage?”