Recycling has many different meanings. While ITMH gets involved in large recycling projects, like house recycling, this section will deal with what you can do as an individual to take advantage of the waste that is all around you. So, let’s get right to it, and not bore you with a bunch of facts and figures.

Why recycle? First, there is an abundance of good material that people throw away. Second, it is good stewardship to keep our community free from excess waste. Finally, people go through tough times, and recycling is a good way to help generate income and lessen expenses.

How can you recycle? Take a walk on trash day in the neighborhood. The walk will do you good, and you will be surprised what you can pick up by being observant. Trash in public places, like along the curb, is public property. You can help yourself, and it is totally legal. It was actually upheld by the US Supreme Court. We will discuss how to take this to another level later.

When should you recycle? There is a cycle for recycling, shall I say. If you are recycling from apartment dumpsters, go the last weekend of the month for the ideal time. People move out at the end of the month, and they discard what they cannot move. However, every weekend is promising.

Where should you recycle? While it may seem easy to figure out where the best finds will be, this is the most challenging part of the program. Learn your community. Richer people throw out better things, by far. Poor people need all they have. Middle class people don’t have that great of stuff to toss out. So, study the demographics of your community. Marketing tools can be so precise that you actually predict what you will find in a given area. We’ll have more on that later.

  Do not think you will be alone in this effort. This is actually a competitive activity. While I have never been attacked, I sure have been harrassed. Typically, other recyclers are very polite and will just move on if they see you in their favorite area. As in anything these days, you need to be careful and vigilant. Use common sense.

Who will harrass you then? Well, many people think you are doing some illegal spying or identity theft thing. Unintentionally, they can be very irritating. Be polite, smile and move on ASAP.

If someone stops and questions you, tell them that you are looking for boxes. So, always be in need of boxes. You can recycle boxes and give them away to people who are going to move or store your things in them. They are expensive if someone has to buy them from U Haul. No, I do not advocate lying. After all, recycling from a public place is legal.

What is not legal? You should not recycle from a place where there are signs posted prohibiting your activity. Do not go where the area is locked.

If you do it right, you will find so much opportunity to recycle that you will not need to take risks.

What will you need? Wear old clothes, but do not look like a bum. You will have a lot more harassment. Conservative, but comfortable clothes are best. Nothing beats a pickup truck, but a van or SUV is great.  However, you can do it on foot, but you will not have as large a potential area.

Plan your activities by day and time. I like to have a strong metal pole about four feet long with a hook on the end to help me get to hard to reach places.  I am not averse to getting into a dumpster if I know I can expect a good reward for it.  Be very careful, though, you can really get hurt doing this.  It is a last resort, though. Prepare to tie things down with lots of different rope you recycle, and guard against rain, etc. with recycled plastic. Have some bubble wrap and old blankets that you can recycle to guard your vehicle from scratches.

I would recommend you start slowly. You can accumulate so much so fast that you will be overrun quickly. Remember to give your excess goods to those who need it. This is the most rewarding part for me. I love to pull up to Salvation Army with a pickup jammed full of things I know they will put to good use.

So, jump right in, so to speak.


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