Northern Minnesota Junk

I went to the dump the other day to drop off my recyclables, along with a couple of bags of trash. It isn’t actually a dump … it’s a Waste Transfer Station. The recyclables go one direction and burnable trash goes in to its own dumpster. As well, the building materials get piled in one area and metal debris in another location. What makes this place different is that, if you see something you might need or want to take and repair, you are free to load it up. What a marvelous use of natural resources! No cost to recycle … no additional embedded energy use … just good stewardship. (I found a wheelbarrow in repairable condition.)

I was taken aback many years ago when I had stopped at the Rochester Waste Disposal Site, and began picking through the Glass Recycle bin to pick up a few wine bottles to clean and use for homemade wine. They told me I couldn’t do that. Apparently, the liability issues related to me sorting through a bin of glass were too great. I guess they needed to protect me from myself … and protect themselves from the inevitable lawsuit that I would file after cutting myself. I was forced to covertly ask friends and neighbors to drink more wine, then save the bottles for me.

Another good example came many years before as I worked at a Bible camp. On one lazy Saturday afternoon, we all decided to bring all of the clothing out that we no longer had use for or were tired of, and set everything on picnic tables. We then walked around to other people’s piles, and picked through what others had set out. While this worked out quite well, I did have to spend years explaining that, no; in fact I did not go to St. Olaf College.

Wouldn’t it be great if once every year, we could cull out our semi-valuable items and set them out for public perusal? That card table that you haven’t used in years would be perfect for when I entertain next Christmas. If I pick up a few things that I can use, I win. If I could get rid of some things of minimal utility to me, I don’t have to clean or walk around them anymore. And for the item that no one wants, send it to Goodwill or the Waste Transfer Station … maybe some one there will spot it.

It takes on a whole different dynamic if a person has to clean it, price it and set around all day watching others sort through your stuff, hoping that you will make a token amount of money for all of your work. If it’s worth that much, use Craigslist. Forget garage sales … let’s just do unfettered swapping.

Just a thought … DonC

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