Thursday, May 28, 2009

Why I Love Dumpster Diving, Garbage Picking, and Other People's Trash

A few days ago, I stepped into the alley behind my apartment and beheld a wonderful sight: a pristine, white dish drainer sitting atop my neighbors' garbage can.

Heck yeah! This was a clear message from my neighbors. It read, "Hey everyone. I'm throwing this thing away, but it's in perfect condition, and I know one of you will want it."

They were right.

Immediately, my natural instinct to acquire perfectly usable stuff that other people are throwing away took over. I snagged the drainer and brought it back to my house, where it joined all the other things I've gained from garbage picking.

As I stowed my new-to-me contraption away, I happily thought, "How perfect! I really needed a dish drainer." (I'm moving to a cozy new apartment on July 1. The place doesn't include roommates with useful kitchen gadgets.)

Yep, because of my find, I was enjoying a nice little high--like the one you get when you chance upon a dollar bill on the ground.

But then all of the sudden my high started to wear off. And I got annoyed.

I got annoyed because people look down so much on dumpster diving. They think it's gross and dirty, but what these narrow-minded people don't understand is that it almost never is.

Just like my neighbors, many people leave the "good stuff" outside their garbage cans, making it clean and easy to grab things. That means you don't have to do anything untoward, yet you still get to enjoy all the benefits:
  • You prevent the pollution and resource waste that results from making new products
  • You divert "good stuff" from landfills
  • You get cool shit for free!
How amazing!

Below are pictures of things that were all once trashed. They are now my treasures. I hope they'll inspire you to do a little alley hunting yourself and to always leave your "good stuff" on top of your garbage can.

Isn't my coffee table gorgeous?

I keep this chair on my back porch.

I potted an aloe in a pretty dish I happened upon.

This antique wooden crate was a true find.

Saturday, May 16, 2009

San Francisco, I'm Green...with Envy

San Francisco is driving me to a perpetual state of jealousy.

The reasons are many, but today it is because the city has so many cool stores. For example, I just heard of a new place called Green 11 that seems super amazing.

Located on Union Street in the Cow Hollow neighborhood, Green 11 sells organic beauty products and household cleaners that you can buy and take home in your own reusable containers.

Specifically, the store is offering concentrated organic shampoo, conditioner, shower gel, lotion, liquid soap, kitchen cleaners, bath cleaners, and laundry detergent.

In Chicago, you absolutely can't get these types of products in your own containers. I swear if I had the cojones I'd open a store simply so I could get them.

Anyways, check out the additional pictures below as evidence of how cool San Fran is.

Darn you, San Francisco!

Sunday, May 3, 2009

Walmart Demonstrates Green Washing With A Carpet Cleaner

Walmart recently put out a commercial that introduces some seriously flawed logic.

The ad starts out okay. They talk about protecting the Earth and show us a cute little Bissell carpet cleaner that's made from 50% recycled plastic.

Okay, I'm on board.

But then they try to convince us to buy said carpet cleaners by saying: "If every Walmart customer—all 200 million of us—bought one, it would be like recycling 2 million bags of trash. Now that is some serious cleaning power"

When I heard first heard that, I wanted to pinch my arm to be sure I was awake. I asked myself, "Did they seriously just say that? Seriously?"

Walmart is trying to convince people that buying 200 million new carpet cleaners made of 50% recycled plastic (a.k.a. 50% virgin plastic) is good for the environment?!?! You've got to be kidding me!

You know what would be better for the environment? Renting a carpet cleaner or borrowing one from a neighbor, or, dare I say it, buying one used.

But I guess I don't expect Walmart to share these types of ideas with people.

I do expect, however, that they don't run around telling people who don't need or want a carpet cleaner that the best thing they could do for the environment is to buy one.

I mean, seriously! That's just wrong.