Loose Ends: Trash to treasure

dollyviscardiThe old saying, “One man’s trash is another man’s treasure‚” came true for a friend recently, when she placed a giant dumpster in their front yard. Not long after it was delivered, the first knock on the door sounded. A steady stream of phone calls and visitations began and continued until the old roof was dissembled and the new roof completed.
“You don’t mind if I bring down a few things to put in your bin, do you?”
“Would it be all right if I took these old pieces of wood?”
“Hey, I could use these old telephone poles, do you mind if I come back later?”
The original intent of the receptacle was to gather up all of the debris from the roofing project. It soon became a community bin as well, although no one put their extra trash in the dumpster without checking first. Everyone seemed extraordinarily mannerly about borrowing the bin and as far as my friend could tell, there appeared to be no drive-by night deposits.
The knocks and phone calls were not restricted to simply adding garbage to the bin, but some asking permission to take some of the trash home. Although a common sight in the spring are those “Free” signs perched on a jumble of old cast-offs, dumpster-diving doesn’t seem to be as visible here. The big bin renter also noted that some of the oddest things stuffed in the bin became treasures to those who had their own home projects in mind.
The most unusual turn of events was when someone came by in the middle of the night and “tagged” the bin with a black anarchy sign. My friend was more than a little surprised, as she explained, “In all of the years we have lived here, no one has ever come on our property or done anything to our property.” She didn’t know what to think, although after reporting it, she found out that dumpster decorating is fairly common.
The time spent with a big bin as a lawn decoration came to a close for my friend, but she found a sense of relief at taking care of her trash in one fell swoop. It also made her feel as if she was doing something useful, as her own carbon footprint was reduced in size. As a teacher, she regularly fields the “What did you do on summer vacation?” question. This fall, she’ll have a new activity to report, as she spent hours pondering trash and what to do with it. “If you want to meet new and different people, get a dumpster.”