Turning Trash To Cash

Turning Trash To Cash August 26, 2011

There’s a new show on the Discovery Channel called Dirty Money.  The show is centered on people who transform ‘trash into cash.’  They will literally jump into dumpsters to pull out items, clean them up, and sell them for a profit.  It’s surprising what people throw out or hold onto and never use.  The crew on the show can be really creative with ways to restore old items and make a few quick dollars from it, which can be pretty entertaining to watch.

The idea of the show got me thinking.  Many of us don’t need to go to the dumpster to find things to restore and sell.  In fact, most of us could probably walk into the next room and find a few things that have been collecting dust.  What about those old antique lamps from the basement?  Or how about that ping-pong table that hasn’t been played on for years?  Remember that old musical instrument that’s been sitting in the closet just waiting for someone to play it.  I’m sure you can think of something!

My Trash To Cash Story

Growing up, I worked with my dad on jobsites doing electrical and HVAC work.  We worked a lot with copper and other scrap metals, and being young, my job was to clean up the job site.  At the end of the work day, there would be all sorts of scrap metal and wires that couldn’t be used for other jobs, so I’d sweep them up, throw them in the truck and bring them home.  We kept a garbage can by the garage and filled it with the scrap copper, which added up fast!  After a few weeks of saving, we’d have enough to take to the scrap yard and get a few dollars for it.

I can also remember taking bags of pop cans to the ‘can-man’ and getting a few dollars for our crushed pop cans.  For a kid, getting cash for your trash was crazy.  Come to think of it…it’s still amazes me how people will pay for just about anything.

Have you ever turned a ‘piece of trash’ into cash?  What was it? 

image credit: edkohler

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  • Years ago, when I had more room, we would save newspapers. I would recycle the papers and make a few dollars every month or so.

  • I would help my grandfather load up newspapers and bring them to the recycling center. This was in the early 80s. We would collect the money and go get ice cream.

    Now I recycle my aluminum cans. But I don’t get a newspaper and haven’t for almost a decade now.