12 Mar 2008

Where do you get all this stuff? Part 2

So, we have already looked at recycling goods from your own home, now lets take a look a little bit further than outside your own front door. What about the items your neighbours throw away? I'm not suggesting that you go and rummage through their household waste bins, but more to do with the bigger items that they leave out; pieces of wood that used to be a cupboard or set of shelves, the electrical copper wire from a house that is being renovated or anything that you could turn into something else with a little imagination!

Now, I know what you are thinking. It will be along the lines of "but isn't going through a bin and taking things out something that only the homeless do?" - the answer is NO! At the end of the day, not only are you getting something for free (better than a "bargain" as that implies it cost you money!) but you are also helping to recycle and are thus helping the environment. That, added to helping out the skip "owner" by freeing up extra space in the skip. Your recycled item will help to put a smile on someone's face when they receive your refurbished goods, makes it all a very worthwhile and profitable activity.
The most important thing to remember when "bin raiding" or "skip diving" is to make sure you ask the owners permission. While skips are indeed anonymous, it is quite a safe assumption to say that they belong to the nearest front door! Asking the owner's permission before removing any goods is not only just out of courtesy, but it is also what will stop you being in trouble with the police for theft. In the UK at least, although the police really do not have time to investigate a complaint of "Hello? Is that the police? Good. I wish to report a theft...... from the skip outside my house which is full of rubbish we don't want and were getting rid of anyway", it is better to be safe than sorry. Most people are more than happy for you to take their rubbish away - this means that they can just put more in the skip - thus saving money on not needing to hire a second one!

Another way of getting free items is by using a service called "Freecycle" - this is a world wide idea, whereby people can advertise the things that they don't want any more, and other people can see what is on offer and if they like the look of something, they can contact the owner and arrange colletion. Most of the time, the old owner wants the new owner to pick the item up, but as you are getting the item for free anyway, it really is only the price of your time and petrol money that costs you anything. My sister's house has been pretty much furnished entirely for free using Freecycle - she has had 2 sofas, an oven, a grill, gas hob, microwave, toaster, pots and pans, a bed, a dining room table and chairs as well as a nifty wooden computer desk (full size thing, not one just for monitor and keyboard!).

I, myself, once found 100m of network cabling next to bin, at a time when I *really* needed it! It was a very lucky find, and I still have about half of it left!

So swallow your pride, forget that people might be watching you and jump in the bin, be it a virtual one or the one at the end of the road!

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