Why are people wasteful?

Andrew1990

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Mar 8, 2008
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Yesterday, my dad and I went scrapping for metal and instead found a 1920s record player in the garbage.

When we were putting it in our truck, a guy comes out and ask us if I want a broken lawn mower. Well I was like sure I'll take it thinking it was blown or something.

Well the broke part was actually a spark plug missing. A new spark plug and it started right up. Now I undertsand some people throw away old mowers but this is a craftsman 6.5HP Mulcher that looks like it was slightly used. No bent blades or anything.

Why do people throw good stuff like this out for really no good reason.

The $240 mower was fixed with a $4 spark plug.....




Lawn Mower
 

lxskllr

No Lifer
Nov 30, 2004
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Because people are idiots. I'd love to run a junk service. Charge people $10 to bring all their crap to me, then I'd Ebay or flea market it.
 

Andrew1990

Banned
Mar 8, 2008
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Originally posted by: lxskllr
Because people are idiots. I'd love to run a junk service. Charge people $10 to bring all their crap to me, then I'd Ebay or flea market it.

Thats what my dad and I do. We scrap the metal and any furniture we grab goes into our little storefront we rent out off.

It isnt as great as it seems. In this bad economy it is barely making it. You do find some pretty cool stuff though. My dad once found a .38 revolver in a dresser. The guns was probably from the 30s.
 

Red Squirrel

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May 24, 2003
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I've noticed this too. Sadly we live in a world where it's often cheaper to buy new then to fix so when something breaks most people just go and buy a new one. There are exceptions though, if it's something silly like a mower with a missing spark plug.
 

lxskllr

No Lifer
Nov 30, 2004
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Originally posted by: Andrew1990
Originally posted by: lxskllr
Because people are idiots. I'd love to run a junk service. Charge people $10 to bring all their crap to me, then I'd Ebay or flea market it.

Thats what my dad and I do. We scrap the metal and any furniture we grab goes into our little storefront we rent out off.

It isnt as great as it seems. In this bad economy it is barely making it. You do find some pretty cool stuff though. My dad once found a .38 revolver in a dresser. The guns was probably from the 30s.

That sounds like fun though. I'm really a scavenger at heart. I like finding things, even if they aren't particularly valuable. I could spend hours digging through a glass dump I found in the woods :^D
 

frostedflakes

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Mar 1, 2005
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I've never really understood this either. For example I've heard of people just tossing a computer and buying a new one when it gets too infected with spyware and other crap. I also know quite a few who buy a new printer when ink or toner runs out, because it's cheaper than purchasing replacement cartridges.
 

InflatableBuddha

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Jul 5, 2007
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Originally posted by: RedSquirrel
I've noticed this too. Sadly we live in a world where it's often cheaper to buy new then to fix so when something breaks most people just go and buy a new one. There are exceptions though, if it's something silly like a mower with a missing spark plug.

True, but moreover, I think people don't want to spend time and energy to troubleshoot and fix often simple problems like this. They figure it's just easier to buy a new product.

Kudos to those who can troubleshoot these problems. I can do it with some stuff, but it's nice to have knowledgeable friends and neighbours to fill the gaps.
 

frostedflakes

Diamond Member
Mar 1, 2005
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Originally posted by: DontMindMe
Originally posted by: lxskllr
Originally posted by: DontMindMe
GTFO of my trash...

It's not your trash anymore when it's at the curb ;^)

really?

how so?
I believe the law states that trash on the curb is public property. That's why police can search it without a warrant.

Might vary between states and cities, but generally I think this is the case.
 

DrPizza

Administrator Elite Member Goat Whisperer
Mar 5, 2001
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Originally posted by: RedSquirrel
I've noticed this too. Sadly we live in a world where it's often cheaper to buy new then to fix so when something breaks most people just go and buy a new one. There are exceptions though, if it's something silly like a mower with a missing spark plug.

Actually, I think we live in a world where it's too expensive to have someone else do simple repairs, and too many people lack the ability/time/desire to discover that they can fix something themselves.

However, there's another related issue: you don't necessarily replace everything you throw out on a 1 to 1 basis. I used to be one of the worst packrats imaginable. For example, we purchased 4 window fans for our bedrooms in my old home. Something happened to one - it fell out of a window or something & broke. But I recall thinking "wow, usually it's the motor that goes bad on fans. I'll just hang on to this fan & if one of the motors burns out on one of the other fans, I'll have a replacement. "

Pretty soon, my basement was filled with fixable items, or items that I'd use for parts. I had my own little scrap yard. In the long run, it just wasn't worth it. I finally cleaned all that stuff out of the basement. And, I never missed any of it. Not that old habits are easy to break - just a couple weeks ago, our washing machine died. I've replaced parts on it at least a dozen times. It was over 20 years old. It's still sitting outside, waiting to go to the dump. But, before it goes, I'm stripping a handful of particular parts out of it - parts that I "know" I'll need in the future. Transmission coupling, dog ears (practically brand new), and while I'm at it, I'll take out a bunch of screws/bolts & toss them in my miscellaneous screw/bolt/nut box. It's amazing how often I use a couple items from that box (weekly.)
 

lxskllr

No Lifer
Nov 30, 2004
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Originally posted by: frostedflakes
Originally posted by: DontMindMe
Originally posted by: lxskllr
Originally posted by: DontMindMe
GTFO of my trash...

It's not your trash anymore when it's at the curb ;^)

really?

how so?
I believe the law states that trash on the curb is public property. That's why police can search it without a warrant.

Might vary between states and cities, but generally I think this is the case.

Yea, in MD anyway, once you've put it to the curb it's assumed you don't want it anymore, and it's free for the taking. I got a cool blackboard from my neighbors trash that way. It's about 3*5, oak framed, and real slate. I'd guesstimate That it's from the 40s. My daughter has fun with it, and it looks good on the wall.
 

Red Squirrel

No Lifer
May 24, 2003
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www.anyf.ca
Originally posted by: frostedflakes
Originally posted by: DontMindMe
Originally posted by: lxskllr
Originally posted by: DontMindMe
GTFO of my trash...

It's not your trash anymore when it's at the curb ;^)

really?

how so?
I believe the law states that trash on the curb is public property. That's why police can search it without a warrant.

Might vary between states and cities, but generally I think this is the case.

Makes sense, by putting it on the curb you are saying that you want to get rid of it, it's just that the city did not pick it up yet. It's like when you order something and they package it and put it on their loading dock for pickup. It's not really theirs anymore as it's getting sent to you.
 

Red Squirrel

No Lifer
May 24, 2003
67,380
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www.anyf.ca
Originally posted by: DrPizza
Originally posted by: RedSquirrel
I've noticed this too. Sadly we live in a world where it's often cheaper to buy new then to fix so when something breaks most people just go and buy a new one. There are exceptions though, if it's something silly like a mower with a missing spark plug.

Actually, I think we live in a world where it's too expensive to have someone else do simple repairs, and too many people lack the ability/time/desire to discover that they can fix something themselves.

However, there's another related issue: you don't necessarily replace everything you throw out on a 1 to 1 basis. I used to be one of the worst packrats imaginable. For example, we purchased 4 window fans for our bedrooms in my old home. Something happened to one - it fell out of a window or something & broke. But I recall thinking "wow, usually it's the motor that goes bad on fans. I'll just hang on to this fan & if one of the motors burns out on one of the other fans, I'll have a replacement. "

Pretty soon, my basement was filled with fixable items, or items that I'd use for parts. I had my own little scrap yard. In the long run, it just wasn't worth it. I finally cleaned all that stuff out of the basement. And, I never missed any of it. Not that old habits are easy to break - just a couple weeks ago, our washing machine died. I've replaced parts on it at least a dozen times. It was over 20 years old. It's still sitting outside, waiting to go to the dump. But, before it goes, I'm stripping a handful of particular parts out of it - parts that I "know" I'll need in the future. Transmission coupling, dog ears (practically brand new), and while I'm at it, I'll take out a bunch of screws/bolts & toss them in my miscellaneous screw/bolt/nut box. It's amazing how often I use a couple items from that box (weekly.)

Haha I'm the same way. I feel bad when I throw something out and try to find options like "maybe I can use this later". Often I end up keeping stuff only to throw it out later.

While recycling has come a long way, it always needs to improve, soon throwing stuff out wont be as much of a waste.
 

IEC

Elite Member
Super Moderator
Jun 10, 2004
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Heh. One of the guys in my dorm sophomore year found a decent-sized TV on the garbage can one day. He took it out, opened it up, and found that it needed a $2 fuse to work. Epic Win.