16 Garbage Collectors Share the Interesting Items People Toss in the Trash

There is not one single (honest) job in the world that is not worthy of respect. That goes double for anyone who does a job that benefits absolutely everyone else in society, like the people who collect our garbage every week.

I also imagine that they see quite a bit of interesting stuff, and right now, we’re all in luck – because these 16 garbage collectors are going to share their best stories with us down below.

16. A good deed.

In the eighties I picked up a number of Philips colour tvs. I had a few, so fixing them was just a question of swapping parts.

I then sold them cheaply or gave them away to fellow students.

15. Ugh, I hate this twist.

When I was a kid my dad worked for a company that hauled away dumpsters and at one point found an old alto sax complete in the box.

Ended up playing it for four years up until high school when it was stolen, couldn’t play after that since my family couldn’t afford a rental let alone pay for a new one.

14. Not actually broken.

I found an amazing smart TV in the dumpster of my apartment complex a few years back. Took it inside, plugged it in, and, as expected, it wouldn’t even turn on.

So I opened it up, but couldn’t find anything wrong. No blown capacitors, no internal cables unplugged, nothing. So I put it back together and tried it one more time. And this time it worked. No idea what was actually wrong with it, but it worked great for years.

I also found a laptop bag with a 2003 Dell laptop inside in that same dumpster. It was like 12 years old and slow as hell, but it worked fine. Had the power cable and everything.

13. That’s definitely odd.

Friend of ours found two bullet resistant vests with paramedic written across them, being thrown out behind a fire station. I guess the expire or something.

12. It’s not all good stuff.

My dad was a trash man when I was growing up. He would always be bringing cool stuff home to us. He used to always say that the “poor” neighborhoods had the most trash and they threw away literally everything.

The two best ones that I can think of was a brand new BMX bike and like 20 Nintendo 64 games that he found at a video rental store.

Also once at the transfer station one of his co-workers found a “dummy arm” in the big pile of trash. He pulled it and it ended up being a dead guy, the police later determined that it was a homeless person that got picked up and died when the trash truck compacted him.

11. Now I don’t feel so badly for throwing those things out.

My dad used to do the cleaning for a mall and he would bring us some amazing stuff sometimes. I remember he once came back home with a backpack full of miniature toys (like the ones you find in Kinder Surprise), another time an entire toy kitchen, and some kids magazines (Les p’tites princesses, I loved it).

He also found a lot of stuff for our home but I was a kid so I remember the toys more than anything

10. Oh my laundry.

My dad was a garbage man for a while and told me about people being compacted. He said they shake dumpsters up and down and wait 30 seconds before dumping them and he’d had people climb out on two occasions. Crazy.

9. What a waste.

My dad worked at a landfill for most of my childhood and my brother and I both got into related companies that directly dealt with landfills for a while. One of the most common things I remember hearing about and seeing all the time were clothing with minor irregularities that had to be thrown away by said clothing company.

It was stuff like Roxy, Vans and other stuff you’d see at places like Tillys or similar clothing store. One of my old coworkers families basically were clothed their whole life from this type of clothing being dumped. The clothing was clean or could be cleaned to a decent level that the clothing was fine to wear.

It was dumb stuff like small rip, missing zipper or some other weird thing they couldn’t sell it that way. Everyone at the landfill was basically in on the scheme. When the truck with the clothing pulled up to the fee booth, someone would radio people at the dump site and it was like a pack of vultures, everyone on the site would swarm the truck as soon as everything was dumped out of the truck.

8. Some parts of the old days weren’t so bad.

When I was a kid I found a couch. It wasn’t very big, but thats why it was so great. 10 year old me was able to carry it all the way home by myself. (About a block and a half.) This was before kids having cell phones were huge so I didn’t call my parents about it first and they were at the store anyways. So I took the couch home and put it in my room.

It was pretty dated… Made of some material I’ve never encountered again so far, but I thought I was THE SHIT. I had a whole couch in my room. How many 10 year olds had couches in their room? Well my parents came home and clearly weren’t happy, but given I carried it up to the second story and got it into my room they let me keep it. (My down stairs neighbor helped me.)

I felt like a king. I had a couch. I had a big box TV for my play station. I had it all. Simpler times.

7. Who would throw that away?

Worked as a garbage man for a very short time last summer, but the best thing I found was an edition of my local newspaper from the day after the Challenger exploded.

6. More good than bad.

I worked as a garbage man in 1972. A small stray cat jumped into the back of the hopper to look for food. I took him home and named him saigon. This was the best thing.

Second best thing someone threw out an old pair of skis. There was snow on the ground and me and the other guy each took a ski and stood on it and held onto the truck, great fun.

Third best we found an entire case of “brylcream” (look it up) and me and the other guy had brylcream fights all day, total mess (I stripped off before going into my house after work).

Worst things a garbage can that had live coals in it that started our truck on fire.

5. It deserved a good home.

A Lane cedar chest. I was helping my dad clean out this lady’s garage and she said as long as we were there, we might as well take that, too. She said she always hated the smell of cedar but her husband wouldn’t let her get rid of it and now that he was dead, she was sending it on its way!

The veneer was never in great shape but it still keeps my wool items safe. I’ve had it for over 30 years now.

4. A treasure indeed.

in the early 2000’s my best friends dad was a garabge man. I used to hang out at their house a lot and i remember him finding uncut sheets of hologrpahic dragon ball z trading cards in the trash and bringing them back. They were super dope to see.

3. The perfect meet-cute.

I found my wife in a pile of garbage while working on a garbage truck.

I was working being trained as a garbage man and one day a women was throwing out way to much good stuff, boxes of books and I could see she was trying to fill a car and minivan, so I figured she was moving and having to sacrifice good stuff.

I talked to her and offered to come back later and help her move so she didn’t have to throw away so much stuff, and it ended up being a story that her husband left her for her best friend, and they moved in together, and she couldn’t afford the townhouse anymore as she was undergoing cancer treatment.

We got married one year later. I like to say I found her in the trash and fixed her up, but the truth is it is opposite. I was the trash she fixed up I.

2. Someone didn’t clean up their room.

My friend found a PS4 (excellent condition) and a brand new controller still in the box.

1. A hidden gem.

My little brother was emptying out a client’s basement and everything was going to be thrown away so my brother was told to keep anything he wanted. He saw a nice looking bike and took it.

Turns out it was a Dahon mu p8 30th anniversary limited edition and in perfect condition. From what I found on it, it goes for over $4K.

Human beings are really fascinating, don’t you think?

If you collect garbage, add your interesting finds down in the comments!