My ultimate goal is to get to a point where I use things I would otherwise waste (like food wrappers, packaging, etc…) to make cool handicrafts & what-not (this would involve me, my boyfriend, and the middle of nowhere). Until then, I’ll just score finds at people’s curbs, which, like I’ve said before, as much as I love the find, it’s still disappointing to see. However, there is another aspect of trash that I can barely think about because of the absolute waste of it all & the negativity that I feel -and that’s just not a good use of my energy.
For years, I worked at a chain bookstore, and, for years, I would see boxes full of paperback books & magazines go into the dumpster weekly, if not daily. DUMPSTER – not even recycling which is the law where we are, but somehow businesses are exempt (yeah, we looked into the getting them fined route..). Standard publisher practice is to return the top covers of paperbacks (the smaller books like your typical romance, mystery, sci-fi) and magazines to the publisher for credit. The covers are returned because that’s where the bar codes are & it’s less shipping. A few of us tried in vain to appeal to ‘corporate’ to be able to at least donate these items to hospitals, nursing homes, etc, but to no avail. When we couldn’t get anywhere with that, we tried to at least to be able to put them in the recycling dumpster….no again. The reply was, that would be in violation of the company’s contract with the publisher, the theory being that if they were available for recycling, then customers would dumpster dive them & thus, not purchase them (or god forbid, these do-gooding non-profits would dumpster dive for them). I of course, thought that theory was ridiculous since dumpster diving/trashpickers probably weren’t going to purchase them in the first place (speaking for myself and other pickers & know). Additionally, in the event there were a few pickers that may have potentially purchased said items, is it really going to make that much of a dent in sales? Sure, you can get a general idea of what will sell & what won’t, but, in the-world-of-planning-to-stick-it-to-the-man, what are the odds a dumpster diving is going to hold out buying a $5.99 paperback in the hopes that it will end up in the dumpster. My guess is that disposal practices vary by store & are a reflection of a manager’s adherence to rules & regulations. Disregard to certain rules weren’t discussed. The real sticklers would go as far as to dump liquids onto the boxes (now THAT’s a fantastic use of my time….). Occasionally, there were items offered to staff – usually when shelving, electronics, tables/chairs, decor, etc.., were being updated or phased out. Space was at a premium in the employee areas of the store, so since I was always willing to take things off their hands and quickly…..I did get some really nice scores that are still in use.
That’s a small speck of waste when you consider that’s just one store; one type of industry; in one state. Recently, my boyfriend was employed to install fixtures at a chain department store, which took a few months. Long story short, every single day, he brought something home that was getting trashed. Heavy duty utility shelving – never assembled, still in boxes; doors suitable for inside the home; boxes of jewelry cases; rolls of packing tape; extension cords; etc….. The kicker is, after him & the other guys (at least ten) salvaged what they could every day, there were still dumpsters & trailers full of stuff. The store at least was totally fine with it (well, at least whoever the go-between was), because, get this……..even though there was a central storage area this stuff could get sent back to & then re-distributed to other stores, there wasn’t enough room because MORE OF THE SAME exact stuff had already been ordered & they needed the space….
So………..what have you come across lately?