Sunday, September 16, 2012

Waste Not, Want Not

Now that we've moved to The City, I find that I'm at the grocery store more, not necessarily spending more, but now I don't have to make a big day of it and can stop in whenever I want.  I was in HEB and buying some fruit.  The produce guy was picking fruit and throwing it in a trash can.  I stopped to look and had to ask what in the world he was doing.  He said it was over-ripe and no one would buy it so they threw it away.  Most of that fruit was perfectly good and if there were any bad spots, you could easily have pared it off and made jam out of it.  I'm talking about a couple bushels of fruit.  Marc was along and gave me that "look" so I left without asking the manager if I could have it (which is of course what I wanted to do), but it stayed on my mind. 

During the move we accumulated some stuff that had to go to the dump.  In The City you have trash pickup, and recycling pickup, which is nice, but they don't allow you much trash in that little can.  Anyways, I went to the dump a time or two to get rid of some stuff that wouldn't fit in the trash can.  The commercial trucks wind around a hill and dump their loads out of site.  The casual users like me (for lack of a better term) back up to huge dumpsters that are on a lower level, which makes it easy to unload. It's always interesting to see what folks are dumping.  It's never household trash.  Once I saw a guy using a garden weeding tool to fish out some "finds" and load them into his truck.  Since this is a college town, there are always students coming and going and they just throw stuff out at the end of the semester, perfectly good stuff.  It looks like there are some pretty cool treasures in those dumpsters.  So this last time I was unloading some stuff and the guy next to me began throwing out full, unopened boxes of ceramic tile, along with unopened bags of grout.  His pickup bed was FULL.  I asked him why he was doing that. He said he owned a tile store and this was stuff that had been sitting around and he wasn't able to sell or give away.  He said he tried to give it to Habitat for Humanity and they wouldn't take it.  I told him about the ads we placed on Craigslist when we had stuff to give away (more on that later) but at that point he just needed it gone.  I SO wanted to get that tile, but of course I had no need for it.  What a waste!

Shortly thereafter I was buying some fabric at JoAnn's.  After measuring out my order, there was a little bit left on the roll, but apparently not enough to sell as a remnant.  Did she include it with mine or even ask me?  No, she cut my fabric and then threw away that last piece.  I was dumbfounded.

What is going on?  Are people simply too lazy to take the time to offer the stuff they're going to throw away to someone who might actually need it?  Is there too much liability involved?

When we were packing for our move, we found that there was a lot of stuff we didn't need or couldn't take with us due to downsizing.  I sold quite a bit of it on Craigslist, which was a lot of work honestly.  But in reality I had to get that stuff out of there one way or the other since the new buyer certainly didn't want all our leftover crap.  Then there was that category of stuff that really wasn't worth someone's trouble to drive all the way out to our place to buy.  I listed those items for free.  We literally had a line at the gate on the days I listed stuff for free.  And remember we lived WAY out there. 

Some of the stuff we gave away - ceramic tiles, and I don't mean full boxes, I mean a dozen, pieces of wood, metal, scraps of wire, etc. 

The ad that got the most calls was the two-year old ham hocks and an uncured side of bacon, all frozen, that I needed to get out of my freezer.  My ad did state that it was two years old.  The guy who came to get it took off work early to make sure he was the first one in line to get it.  Some of the callers sounded like they really needed it.  I felt bad having to tell them that it was gone but glad that I'd given it to someone who could use it rather than throw it in the dump.
One man's trash truly can be another man's treasure.

1 comment:

  1. I love the last post - darling girls. I guess I'm totally out of the loop, not being on Facebook. I only knew Erin had her baby from Jeannie's blog!

    It is amazing what people routinely throw away. That's because they've/we've never been in a position to need anything, really. If food were scarce and hard to find - that fruit wouldn't be going to waste (my local grocery sells it deeply discounted). Same with all consumer goods. Things are so cheaply made (in China) that it's easier to throw them away and replace them. It's a different culture, that's for sure. I have 2 chairs in my living room that I picked up on the tree lawn!!! For nothing. I, too, gave away a bunch of stuff on Craig's List, but I felt good knowing that someone could use it. Kathy