As the old saying goes , “One man’s trash is another man’s treasure”, is more or less my personal motto and I am the first to admit that I have a love affair with dumpsters and discarded items. I have found many useful things in dumpsters and by the side of the road that were destined for the landfill – quality lumber, a multi tool (I use this everyday), chain link fencing, shovels, fire wood, a bike trailer, a great hand saw, five gallon buckets and too many other things to list them all. This love affair of mine, saving discarded items, comes from two places from within me – the thrifty anarchist and being a good steward of the Earth. I work hard for the money I make and I don’t like spending it on useless shit if I don’t have to, so when I find something useful that won’t just collect dust in my garage for the next ten years I usually take it. Some examples: the chicken coop I built is made out of all salvaged lumber, our chain link fence is 95% salvaged, old window screens that I use for drying garlic and herbs on, etc… Not only does this habit save me money, it also prevents perfectly useable materials/tools from going into the land fill. The sad fact is this – the majority of Americans live a disposable lifestyle. Fast food, cheap plastic products, and instant gratification. If you want something now you can go out and get it, and when you are done with it or when it breaks just throw it away and it is gone – out of site, out of mind. Living this lifestyle allows us to not take responsibility for our actions or our planet. Nobody is perfect (including me), but at some point this behavior of a throw-away lifestyle needs to be addressed. As we enter a cheap energy challenged future (Peak Oil), products that we take for granted are going to become more expensive and more scarce. The earlier we can start to voluntarily change our habits, the easier this transition will be. So now, onto to a real world example… garden hose repair. On my way home from work today I spotted a nice looking garden hose in someone’s garbage. I stopped to check it out and see if it was worth taking. It appears this person must have had this garden hose to close to their bonfire and ended up burning it. Aside from a semi-melted six inch section, this hose was in great shape. I threw it into my car, drove to the hardware store, and purchased the hose repair kit that I would need to fix it. I bought a few extra pieces just in case the hose had more than one leak, and all said and done it cost me about $12 in repair parts – far cheaper than buying a new garden hose. I am glad I bought extra parts, it had a second leak and on further inspection the people also must have ran over the female end of the hose with their car tire trying to put out the fire because they burned their hose (it must have been a great bonfire)!! What follows is the incredibly easy process of fixing a leaking garden hose. It will save you money on buying a new one, and it will help (at least temporarily) of the hose going to the land fill. And remember, there are many treasures to be found in the discard pile, you just have to look with a different set of eyes – Happy dumpster diving!! Cheers!