Rules for curb shopping

dooneMay 4, 2006

I know...dumb question but, are there rules for curb shopping? Like, if it's out there, does the garbage people consider it up for grabs? Or the city? or Whoever?

I have many times seen neat stuff that I wish I had the guts to stop and pick up...I just have this vision of someone opening their door and yelling at me to get out of their garbage!!!

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If it's on the street, it's fair game.
Go for it and don't be embarrased.
I've gotten scads of stuff off the street.
Picnic table and benches, half oak barrels, terracotta pots, grass clippings for the compost pile, scrap wood, a pellet gun, corrigated tin, bricks and cinder blocks, divided canna and day lilys, a work bench, a retro clam back chair, a $50 bill, and that's just the tip of the berg.

Curb shopping is a hoot, and it's fun to give a new life to something that is no longer wanted.

    Bookmark   May 4, 2006 at 4:30PM
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Check your state and city codes. Some places state that there is no retained interest in the objects put out for the trash,some state that the owner still retains interest until its picked up.

Curb shopping is legal where I live,its even recommended. I wish all areas would allow this. Those that don't really should use freecycle. The landfills are filling up way too fast.

    Bookmark   May 4, 2006 at 7:58PM
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Checking local laws is reccommended. Do not take anything from a recycling bin. A friend learned the hard way, that is vested interest (owned by) the waste management company as soon as the stuff is in the bin.

There are more etiquette "rules" that are mostly common sense.

  1. Do not leave a mess. Refrain from dragging stuff out of the way and leaving it scattered all over (especially in the road way) after you get the item you want from the middle or bottom of the pile.

2. Do NOT block traffic or endanger yourself or others in stopping at a curbside market. Your life and the lives of innocents commuting is not worth any item at the curbside market. Even if it means someone else will get to the find first do not drive or park carelessly. I have found when I have mised an item because I was using caution there has been a better opprotunity for similar or better item just miles or days away.

3. If you are at a curbside market and a stranger is also in attendence, say "hello", be friendly, if they could use a hand, lend help and if you could use a hand, ask. There is no telling where and when you will make a Junking Buddy and become life long friends.

I have been curside shopping and dumpster diving for 40+ years and I have never had any problems by following these simple ettiquette ideas and made many lasting friendships.

Go Find Re-purpose and Enjoy without any embarassment. We are reducing the waste dumped into landfills, trying to make the world a cleaner more beautiful place and save $s for ourselves.


    Bookmark   May 6, 2006 at 11:19AM
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Speaking of Freecycle, I have yet to catch anything before it's already gone. I've seen some really neat stuff. Just today I responded to an ad on Freecycle for an oak dining room table and chairs and a china hutch to go with it. Dang! Just once I'd like to catch something.

    Bookmark   May 8, 2006 at 2:27AM
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Laurie - I too check Freecycle - but I don't have a computer at home and I miss all the good stuff too!!!!

    Bookmark   May 8, 2006 at 10:19AM
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It's illegal here.

    Bookmark   May 12, 2006 at 9:52PM
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In London, ON where I lived recently, we heard that when the resident puts something on curbside for garbage, at that point it becomes property of the city.

For a lot of furniture, appliances, etc. that they'd never use, they don't fuss if it is taken by someone.

But - they get upset if someone takes aluminum cans from the "blue (recycling) box"es.

The only thing that's being recycled that nets the city any real money. Most of it just costs less to deal with in the recycling stream than it would if thrown into landfill.

People with trucks, trailers etc. patrol the street there quite often, especially in spring when people are cleaning out, students are leaving Univ., college, etc.

No one bothers them.

It seems to me that prohibiting someone from using something that someone else doesn't want is irresponsible - another symptom of our sick society.

Imagine - people in Toronto pay hundreds of truckers to haul their garbage over 250 miles (to near Detroit). The Michigan people are pretty upset about it. (But nary a word about the hazardous liquid waste that they send over the border and pump down into the ground a few miles from Sarnia).

Farners feed cities: we need farmland to feed people, not use as a repository for garbage.

ole joyful

    Bookmark   May 25, 2006 at 10:22PM
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I recently read the following, posted on another website:

"Out here we have a pack of sub-humans that drive around the night before garbage day and pick through your stuff. Anytime you drag anything out to the curb it will be gone before the trash truck gets here."

I can't for the life of me understand why some people get uptight about dumpster diving or scavenging trash off the kerb, as long as the scavengers don't leave a mess behind.

Recycling trash will make the landfill last longer and might even keep taxes a little lower.

At our local landfill, some jerk went to all the trouble to locate the boss and file a complaint because the guy who works there was observed pulling discarded lawnmowers out of the dumpsters after closing hours (and on his own time), taking them home, fixing them up and selling them.

One of the latest arguments against rubbish picking is identity theft. I don't have much sympathy for folks who have allowed their personal data to get stolen by throwing it into the rubbish intact. To me, that's about as smart as giving confidential information over wireless phones,or sending financial data over the internet using non-secure websites. I think that's a bogus argument against allowing people to pick through discarded trash.

Paper shredders are very cheap security, plus they generate good packing material.

At our landfill, it's supposed to be forbidden to pick stuff out of the dumpsters, but I do it anyway if I see something that looks of value to me. I think they are afraid someone might cut themselves or otherwise get an injury and then sue the county for damages. Only once, did the elderly guy who works there ever yell at me. I reminded him that we are all charged a $5.00 monthly fee, added to our electric bill, to finance the eventual replacement of the landfill when it gets full. I told him that as long as I have to pay that fee, I'll pull anything out of the dumpster that I want, and that if he doesn't like it, he was welcome to call the sheriff and file a theft complaint against me (I'm totally positive the 911 dispatcher would send out a squad of deputies right away to investigate). I also reminded him that many times I have picked trash up off the ground that other people have left behind, and tossed it in the dumpster while I was throwing my own stuff away. He just mumbled something and walked away.

We don't have trash pickup in this county unless you wish to hire a private trash collector to do the job. I just haul my own stuff to the dump. But it wouldn't bother me the least to see the rubbish man pulling out some of my stuff before putting the rest in the truck, as long as he didn't leave a mess behind. I doubt that would ever happen. I suppose my parents and grandparents who lived through the great depression had too much influence on me. By the time I toss something in the trash, it IS pure rubbish, and very unlikely that anyone else would have any conceivable use for it. One exception might be a few old magazines.

I would recommend if you see something of value discarded on trash pickup day, grab it, but don't leave a mess behind. If it happens to be one of those places where, for some perverted reason it is "illegal," just do it carefully. There is too much bona fide theft going on for the cops to be putting a lot of effort into harassing dumpster divers.

    Bookmark   June 6, 2006 at 7:35PM
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