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Picking Through Scraps to Find Gold
This past weekend was bulk trash pick up and as such I spent the majority of saturday morning pulling out any and all junk that was cluttering my garage and any other storage space I had.
When I bought my home, I used an alternative method to purchase it and because of this, the person who lived in the home before me left a good chunk of items and junk. This was a pretty big windfall when my wife and I first moved in as it included a fully functioning lawn mower, gardening tools, and patio furniture.
Unfortunately she also left tons of ceramic and plastic pots, construction materials leftover from A/C work, and a shed full of items that are useless to me.
The past year I happened to be out of town both times when the bulk trash pickup happened.
This year, I made sure that I would be home to finally get rid of all this junk…. or rather my wife made sure that I would.
As I began toss my unwanted items out on the curb I witnessed a live action version of the old adage “One man’s trash is another man’s treasure.”
There were some items that were gone before I even made it back with another armful.
Check out this list below to see some of the items that are
Bulk Items Include:
- Appliances (remove doors)
- Passenger car tires (remove rims; limit eight tires per household)
- Lawn mowers (remove gas/oil)
- Railroad ties (cut in half)
- Rolled fencing
- Nail-free lumber
Bulk Item Collection Crews Cannot Collect:
- Brush, household trash, cardboard boxes, hazardous materials, mirrors, automotive chassis and bodies, motorcycles, trailers, boars and tires that are still mounted on rims
- Sheet glass and other construction and remodeling debris
- Place bulk items at the curb in front of your house by 6:30 a.m. on the first day of your scheduled collection week
- Separate items into three piles as described below
- To prevent damage to your property, keep items 5 feet away from your trash cart, mailbox, fences or walls, water meter, telephone connection box and parked cars. Do not place any items under low hanging tree limbs or power lines
- Austin Resource Recovery only collects bulk items from its residential trash and recycling customers
- Items will not be collected if they are in an alley in any area, including Hyde Park, in front of a vacant lot or in front of a business
- Do not put items in bags, boxes or other containers. Bulk collection is for items too large to fit in containers. Bags will be treated as extra trash and are subject to extra trash fees
Separate Items into Three Piles
- Metal items – Includes appliances (remove doors). These are taken to our Resource Recovery Center for recycling
- Passenger car tires - Rims must be removed. Limit of eight tires per household. We cannot collect truck or tractor tires. Tires will go to a tire recycling facility
- Non-metal items – Includes carpeting and nail-free lumber. These items go to a landfill. Austin Resource Recovery is working on plans to salvage reusable items from bulk collection to help meet the City of Austin’s Zero Waste goal
Because these piles are collected by different trucks, they may be collected at different times throughout the week.
At one point I managed to catch one of the “pickers” as he was going through my items, he was completely courteous about it and simply asked if it was ok for him to take a look.
As I had already decided it was worthless to me I had no qualms with it, but I did have a question.
I asked him what he would be doing with it or what he was looking for.
His reply was simple, “scrap metal”
We had a short conversation about his business venture and he said that he could make several hundred dollars in a weekend on scrap metal alone.
Bravo for him, that is definitely one way to make a little extra scratch!
Then I began to think about it, and took a walk up my street to see what some of my neighbors had decided to toss out.
Several sets of tires- that could be used for container gardens
A lawn mower that may or may not have worked ( the most common problem with a tossed lawn mower is a bad spark plug- a simple $2.00 fix, or a clogged air filter)
pallets and scrap wood that could be used for small construction projects
yard and gardening tools.
I have to admit, any prepper knowledgeable enough to know the pick up schedules in each neighborhood could save hundreds or thousands of dollars in a few hours of picking.
Think about it, you have instant access to presorted materials!
A word about etiquette coming from myself as a home owner- If they are outside when you pull up, Please introduce yourself and at least ask permission, it is extremely rude not to even acknowledge me as you sift through trash on my property.
Also DO NOT just begin tossing items around, I had to ask one person to leave as they began tossing items across my yard and into the street. I don’t mind you taking these things but I am not OK with paying a fine for littering because you were careless.
Be kind, courteous and quick, and you might be amazed at what you will find.
My wife had me on a short leash for the weekend, so I wasn’t able to bring anything in, but I’m curious to know if any of you have ever used bulk trash pick up and if so what is the coolest or most useful thing you have found?
Let me know in the comments below!
*As a final note, the above listing is based on my area. Be sure to check local guidelines for bulk trash pick up as it may be different where you live.
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