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Trash or Treasures

by Ron Kitson

Don't tell me you've never walked past someone's curbside trash and thought "Gee I wonder why anyone would throw that out." Or, "Gosh, that's better than the one in Billy's room." You just hate to see it go to the landfill.

Ben Franklin said "Waste not, want not" but we have become a wasteful society. A poor family could do quite well on the food and clothing another family throws out. Some retirees supplement their incomes by picking items out of your trash, repairing or painting as needed and then selling them.

Years ago, people took empty containers to the general store to get them filled. Now we buy our supplies in decorative bottles, jars, cans or other containers, use up the contents and toss it.

One thing I like about getting the national news from the TV or the Internet is that we don't have all that newsprint to throw out. We take a small county paper and that's enough. Can you imagine the trees required for newspapers around the world in just one day? I guess you could call it a forest.

One of our problems today is style. We are supposed to have the latest styles and few people are interested in the old ones unless they're collectables.

We throw out a good vacuum cleaner with a bad cord saying, "It really isn't worth spending money on" but what you're really thinking is "I like those new ones."

With some things today, you almost have to be able to make your own repairs to them because it really would cost more than it's worth to have someone else fix it.

Some people still pass things on to younger members of the family but so many of the younger people want new stuff. Some might sell some good used items in a garage sale but would never buy any.

They say they would never buy anything used because it might still have someone else's dirt on it. Is someone else's dirt really dirtier than your dirt?

Manufacturers continue to create new designs and fashions to lure us into scrapping the old and buying the new. They must hate the idea of school uniforms. The not-so-well-off have trouble keeping their children in the latest fashions and they get teased to tears by the others.

We throw out so much these days that getting rid of the trash is a major problem especially for the larger communities. Can you imagine how much gets thrown out everyday in greater New York or Los Angeles? I would look it up for you but if you're like me, you really don't want to know.

All of our raw food trimmings go into our compost bin and end up in our flower beds or vegetable garden. Some things we give to charitable organizations who collect items to resell or give to the poor. We don't throw out a lot.

Finding a treasure in someone else's trash can give you a really good feeling. "Wow, take a look at what I found. Oh man, I can't believe anyone would throw this out."

Most "curbcombers" work under cover of the night. While they may not be ashamed of their trash pickin' habit, nighttime just seems more appropriate. ...So they say.

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