Dumpster Diving (aka 75 Years Later and The Depression Still Influences Me)

A friend who
went to my high school lives in London and told me before I came that I
would not believe what people throw out here. 

“At first, I was a bit embarrassed to grab the perfectly good furniture
and electronics and other stuff people would leave on the curb.  I
got over that fast!”

I didn't see much evidence of it before now but since spring's sprung
and semester's over, the streets are lined with people throwing out
what appear to be perfectly good, if a bit worn, chairs, shelves, futon
mattresses and more.  For instance, this is the dumpster behind
our building and if I knew they hadn't been rained on, one of those
chairs would probably be in my apartment right now.   Maybe that white kitchen stand too.

Unlike my friend, I have no such compunction about grabbing stuff. 
I think this comes from growing up in a province that's not too far
removed from the Depression and also, spending my formative years in rural
communities that seem to be much more conscious of waste than our urban
counterparts (I'm talking Calgary/Montreal/Toronto urban – not Regina/Saskatoon urban.) 

For example, my grandmother would make you feel guilty with a single
glance if you didn't clean your plate. My
parents have drawers full of scraps of plastic and metal and nuts and
bolts and god knows what else “just in case we need them.”  Now,
I'm following in their footsteps myself in a variety of ways. 

When dad was here, we went to look at a bbq for
sale.  It was a piece of junk but we saw another one on a side
street one block away with a note “Working BBQ – Free!” taped to
it.  It looked to be in better shape than the one that the guy
wanted $30 for so we shoved it in the trunk of the car (“It's a
rental!”) and brought it home.  (It does work and I'm so happy
that I'll be able to BBQ this summer!)

Yesterday, I saw a TV stand/cabinet thing by the dumpster behind our
building and grabbed it too, crossing it off my list of things we want
for our house and saving $50 or $100 that a new one would cost at a
store or even secondhand.

Meanwhile, Ontario has major issues
with their garbage yet people continue to throw out more trash here
than anywhere I've seen.  Plus (and this was a major shock to me
when I arrived), they don't even have a deposit system so that you get
money back for returning bottles and cans.  People can still
recycle but I would imagine that without the cash incentive, it happens
a lot less. 

Some better ways to get rid of your unwanted stuff:
London Freecycle
UWO “Garage Sale” Listings
Any of the Various Businesses and Charities Listed On The London Green Directory (some offering pick-up)

I'm looking forward to the rest of the Spring.  Who knows what else I'll get! 

(Did I just admit to “Dumpster Diving” on a public forum?  Yikes!)

Comments 1

  1. Anonymous wrote:

    I am so coming over to your place for BBQ this summer.

    Posted 27 Apr 2006 at 7:16 pm

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