NEW YORK (MainStreet) — Our growing obsession with junk is understandable, given the nation’s current economic woes. But Ki Nassauer, an avid junker who runs the blog JunkRevolution.com, says that, similar to secondhand shopping, dumpster diving (also known as picking) is becoming increasingly popular thanks to cultural shifts toward recycling and sustainable living.
“There’s no stigma attached to [dumpster diving] anymore,” Nassauer says. She explains that folks who grew up after the Great Depression were driven by the idea that everything needed to be new. Now, instead, people are intrigued by the idea that you can find something of value for free.
“It’s a very green way to live,” she points out.
It also helps that people get a firsthand look at how old items left on the road can actually have financial value on TV shows like American Pickers or Picker Sisters, a practice that many consumers are apt to replicate.
“Most people are looking for something special,” Michael Andreacchi, co-founder of Junk King, a full-service junk removal company that works with collectors and refurbishers to recycle the items it collects. He says that most people who dumpster dive do it to find hidden treasures that can be worth a lot of money to in antique markets, while others may want to find furniture for their house or to add to their hobby collections.
“We work with one individual that really likes light bulbs,” Junk Kings’s other founder Brian Reardon says.
But no matter what may drive a person to dive into the dumpster, Andreacchi and Reardon both say that a lot of the junk they are hired to haul away can, in fact, still be put to good use.
“We recycle approximately 60% of everything we pick up,” Andreacchi says. He adds that there have been times when his company has hauled off items that were brand new to be recycled.