Working as a garbage collector, janitor, or in any sort of waste management job means you develop an eye for finding bizarre things that people throw away.
In a recent /r/AskReddit thread, garbage collectors shared what was the
most illegal, strange, or valuable thing they have ever seen while gathering trash.
Not only do these people do an essential job, but it turns out they’re also treasure hunters.
You’ll be shocked at some of the things they find, from iPhones to porn (obviously). Keep reading to see their answers.
1. Mountain bikes and Egyptian papyrus paintings
“Two Egyptian Papyrus paintings, framed. Three mountain bikes — one had a loose rear axle (tightened the nut, had it fixed in seconds), the others had flat tires. 12 working VCRs (this was in 2002 — I still have 8 of them.) An entire box of new-in-wrapper embossed steel Rolling Rock Beer signs. Sold them on Ebay for over $US300.
“I think the most useful thing I found was a 15-foot logging chain. It must have weighed 40 pounds, and I use it on my tractor.” – Phantom_Scarecrow
2. “Every tool you would ever need”
“A working PS3. A working iPhone 4 (this was before the 5 was introduced), two laptop computers (monitors were broken, and nothing else), multiple desktop PCs, an FM transmitter, every tool you would ever need, an N64 with a few games, five bottles of unopened hard liquor, all sorts of hunting equipment, and furniture. Lots of good furniture that I ended up refurbishing and selling.” – captainfantastyk
3. (Working) Stereo
“I was a garbage pick up man during college. One day I found a really nice stereo with a three disk changer, two speakers, and a sub-woofer. I don’t know why they threw it out! It’s worked perfectly for me for three years!” – dforderp
4. Designer goods
“I’m not a garbage man, but I used to do security at a wealthy apartment complex. I started to go through the trash after I found an oven that worked. Ladies would throw away $US100-$US200 brand new purses. Gucci, Prada, Armani glasses just because they had tiny, tiny scratches on them. This one art teacher would throw away art supplies. This one guy threw away all his bongs and pipes, grinders. Food that was months away from its expiration date. Brand new clothes with the tags still attached. I was literally finding free money.” – MaxRandom
5. “Someone’s entire record collection”
“Best find: someone’s entire record collection. Probably three tall pallets of records. Had to be at least 1,000+ records. I kept all of them.” – ralph122030
6. Tag Heuer watch
“My father in law is a bin man here in Northern Ireland. He is forever bringing home stuff he finds on his rounds, most recently a Tag Heuer watch and more iPhones than you could shake a stick at.” – GoodnightKevin
7. Arcade tokens
“This was in the ’90s: My friend’s dad found a big sack full of arcade tokens. Not sure how it is now, but back then the tokens were mostly standardized. My friend was in heaven.” – theoptionexplicit
“Found a massive collection of porn and sex toys. We took all the porn and split it amongst about 15 of us.” – daywalker666
10. Snowboards and money
“The main garbage man had a room in his house dedicated to the things he found. From $US400 snowboards to full toolboxes and audio systems. And the truck driver made about an extra $US500 every two months from recycling cans people would throw out. I also stumbled across a $US100 bill once at the landfill.” – captainfantastyk
“A friend of mine worked for garbage collecting and later at a sorting facility. He made a very decent business selling all sorts of electronics and appliances people would leave at the free drop-off point.
“He had hundreds of old computers. Commodores, Amigas, old Mac’s and gaming consoles (pre PS/Xbox). He’d switch around the dead parts (if any), re-solder components, clean everything in some alcohol solution where you dip the whole chip board. He even used some sort of chemical that would de-age the plastic. You know how old plastic goes all yellow, he wiped this solution on it and left for a day or so and it would look just like new.” – micge
11. WWII code-breaking machine
“My good friend who used to work at a recycling plant found an Enigma machine. That’s an encryption device the Nazis used. It was worth $US10,000.” – DarkPasta
“My grandfather used to work at the dump. My family called it the road 120 hardware store. He brought everything home. Tools galore, all kinds of metal for recycling, furniture, decorative odds and ends. He built my sister and me a playhouse outside that was entirely furnished with people’s junk. Child sized table and chairs, a tiny TV and radio, loads of toys that just needed a little scrubbing. My grandparents had a yearly garage sale with all the findings they didn’t want and made hundreds of dollars.” – tempertantrums
Business Insider Emails & Alerts
Site highlights each day to your inbox.