Green living goes out the window…

…when you’ve got to move all of that shit. The winter term at PSU ended this week, and after they wrapped up their finals students from around the world vacated their dormitories and set off back to their homes. In the process, they threw away a lot of shit that really shouldn’t hit the landfill quite yet.

The combination of laziness and ignorance of the value of things means people send a lot of really nice stuff to the dump. Add in the pressure of having to fly home with only what will fit in your suitcase, and they start acting downright irrationally. Mix in the lack of foresight young adults are famous for, and the behavior around move out time starts approaching mass mental break territory.

If you happen to have a stable housing situation and live near a college campus, you can harness this insanity to your benefit. I made the rounds at some of the dumpsters around campus as I was going about my day, and came out with a decent haul. The only work required was taking a walk on an uncharacteristically nice spring day, and silencing my inner germophobe as I scaled the sides of the bins to get a better angle at the goods within.

The fruits of this labor were many:
-A Samsung Q70 laptop with its power supply. It wouldn’t boot (from what I can tell the integrated video card failed), but it has many salvageable parts, and the hard drive was helpfully pre-loaded with a considerable quantity of pirated music and pornography.
-A box full of camera gear.
-Lots of textbooks that I passed on but were quickly picked up by others, and enough paperbacks to net $20 in credit at Powell’s. Quickly redeemed to pick up Xerography Debt #29, The East Village Inky #47, and the compilation book of Scam #1-4.
-A D-Link DI-524M router/wireless access point.
-More office supplies than you can shake a stick at.
-A few baking trays, one of which was in fact brand new.

I could have fed myself for several weeks off of the vast quantities of still sealed packaged foods I found, but I had to draw the line somewhere. A kitchen could have been outfitted several times over with the cookware, cutlery, and flatware that had been thrown away. Several new in box pieces of Ikea furniture would have gotten a start on furnishing the rest of an apartment, not to mention the various used pieces of furniture to be found.  And of course, there was a small mountain of clothing, which at least a few people were decent enough to bag separately and set off to the side.

I only checked out the outdoor, publicly accessible dumpsters. I know Broadway hall has one somewhere inside that the trash chutes dump into, but didn’t feel like getting my B&E on, even though I’m sure the pickings would have been good. There are also countless near campus apartment buildings that likely experience a similar exodus of students and the accompanying orgy of waste. Here’s a quick map of the sites I did hit up:

Anyway, I guess the moral of the story is this: Stop being so goddamn lazy, and donate your still useful housewares to Goodwill or something. Take the computers to Free Geek, or just leave them anywhere other than the dumpsters. Same with the other electronics. There are a lot of folks who do without and would love to have that stuff. Just tossing it in the trash is a despicable display of laziness and callous disregard for not just your fellow man, but the planet as well.

2 thoughts on “Green living goes out the window…

  1. Right after Christmas break is a pretty good time to dumpster dive too. Kids come back to the dorm with new stereos, TVs, etc, and out go the old ones.

    I also like cruising the loading docks around campus for dumpsters. Certain departments here like to throw away computer equipment after it gets to be 6 months old. I got two flatscreen monitors the other day, one in perfect shape and one needed a $2 capacitor. When I was a student I never had to buy ink either, I’d just find a new printer in the CS junk pile every few months :-P

  2. Hmm… That’s actually a really good idea. Unfortunately most of the loading docks have cameras and I’ve been shooed away by friendly but stern security guards from some choice pickings in the past.

    I have scored some stuff from the huge bins they bring in for building renovations before though. Got a kick ass four drawer filing cabinet with property tags dating from the time when PSU was merely a state college, and a burnt orange chair + desk combo when SB2 was being torn apart.

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