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Benjamin Drury - May 18, 2021

Learning from the Garbage

As I write, I’m listening to the local bin men journey down my street collecting the recycling that I put out last night. Package, cardboard, tins, plastic bottles. All the usual suspects that need to be processed and reclaimed.

It’s not always the usual suspects thought. It’s amazing what people throw out and as the old saying goes, “one man’s garbage is another man’s gold.”

A waste management firm in Newcastle upon Tyne, UK have produced an unusual list of some of the things their workers find in the resident’s bins: kittens, a bomb, credit cards, £400 cash and a wedding dress. The side panel of a car, some shotgun cartridges, a violin, silver knives and forks, car batteries, clogs and even dead animals are among other things found among the bins and recycling put out to be taken away.

Most of it people genuinely want to get rid of, but there is also a lot that gets thrown out unintentionally. Companies take calls from panicking residents looking for items like wedding rings, mobile phones, passports and cash, that ended up in the bins by mistake.

Any way you slice it, there’s definitely gold in the rubbish business.

One group of bin men in Ankara, Turkey, took it to another level, sharing the ‘gold’ they discovered in the garbage. The workers started to collect discarded books they found in the rubbish. They took them back to depot and built up a collection for workers and their families to borrow, but as the word got out and collection grew, the library opened up to the public.

The library now houses over 25,000 titles from literature to non-fiction, from children’s books and comics to educational textbooks. It is filled with people reading and even has a lounge area where people can play chess. The library became so popular that people have started to donate directly to the project rather than throwing books out.

So diverse is the selection that schools are even requesting rare books for their students that they can’t get elsewhere, delivered to the schools in, of course, a garbage truck.

One man’s trash is another man’s treasure.

What better treasure is there than education.

Source: https://www.businessinsider.com/garbage-collectors-turkey-opened-library-discarded-books-2019-5?r=US&IR=T

Source: https://www.mentalfloss.com/article/525790/trash-collectors-turkey-use-abandoned-books-build-free-library

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