29 Illegal, Strange Or Actually Valuable Things Folks Found In Other People’s Trash, As Shared In This Dedicated Thread

They say that one man’s trash is another man’s treasure. Whoever they are. Probably people who find a lot of someone else’s trash that they find great value in. Or mayhaps it’s one man’s trash that becomes the key to another man’s treasure? Nothing like a philosophical red herring to sidetrack you on this fine day.

Anywho, trash! Um, no, treasure! Well, um, both. Folks online were talking about both. Specifically here. Specifically this: What’s the most illegal, strange or valuable thing you have seen while gathering people’s trash? Specifically, scroll below to find the best responses to this question.

More Info: Reddit


I did junk removal for a while and we used to clean out estates of people who died. You can find some nice records or old furnitures that would end up be worth lots of money.

One day, after a third week straight of cleaning out estates of the deceased, my coworker and I stood still in this old woman's living room, and kinda just stopped. We realized the value of someone after they pass, or rather, the lack thereof. Here we are throwing out photo albums, books, journals, note cards: all things that were once valuable to somebody. But now they are just being chucked to a garbage truck without any thought.

All those things that a person has spent their lifetime accumulate, ended up meaning nothing. Often the children come and sort out some stuff, but most of the time it's just "get rid of everything". It made me realize that accumulating material goods is really a futile way of living. You can't take it to the grave (most of the time), and it just end up in a line fill. Jabronis like us would try to make a buck out of the candle sticks that you so adored and thought your children would definitely take. It is morbid to think that we are just literally throwing away someone's life and memory.

I don't know, just something to think about. Collect experiences, as those can not be taken by anyone. If the choice is between that nice watch and a weekend trip to Mexico, probably choose the latter.

Image credits: anon


Not a garbage man, but I do know that garbage men regularly solve crimes. A couple weeks back, a restaurant that I used to work at was robbed of a large amount of cash. 3 young gentlemen went in just before closing and hid in the bathroom, came out after the doors were locked and it was just the manager, bartender, and owner. 3 middle aged women. They took the bartender and manager downstairs to the office, where the owner was with the open safe. Put them all on the floor, robbed the safe, and bounced. In the safe was cash, rolled coin, and a gun safe with a pistol. They took everything. Unable to open the gun safe, they took a cutting wheel and torch to it, got it open, discarded the gun safe. Genius put it in his trash barrel, wheels it out to the curb. Trash man finds it the next day, the resident is arrested. Gives up the other 2 suspects. What a squad of geniuses. They would have gotten away with it too, if it wasn't for that meddling garbage man. And ignorance.

Image credits: mongoloidian


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

Guy even has a huge jar filled with coins he finds - all the guys he work with dump any loose change or notes they come across into it throughout the year and they split it between them at Christmas

Image credits: GoodnightKevin


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 $100 $200 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. Food that was months away from its expiration date. Brand new clothes with the tags still attached. I was literally finding free money.

Image credits: anon


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.

Image credits: theoptionexplicit


This was in the early 90's. I was emptying the public trash cans in a city centre in mid England. I saw this really expensive bound leather photograph holder book. I took it lobbed it in the cab to check out later.

After work I started looking through it and it started with these fresh faced young soldiers laughing and gurning at the camera. They were doing their training I think in some leafy camp in England. Then it switched to a f**k hole awful desert - it was the time of Gulf War I. The smiles went and then the carnage came. Busted tanks, cars and people. Fires, death and destruction. Almost unrecognizable burnt bodies. Just horrible, horrible s**t.

Then I stopped looking and threw it away as the owner had intended. I often wonder who threw that away, I hope it was the soldier trying to forget rather than one of his grieving relatives. That was more than 20 years ago but I think of that poor boy a lot.

Image credits: anon


growing up, our garbage man would always stop to say what's up while we were outside playing. he was friends with my dad so it wasn't weird or anything. we called him Jon the Prophet bc he was always dropping wise phrases on us. we later found out these were just song lyrics (for example: carry on my wayward son, there will be peace when you are done)...anyway, he was always bringing us cool stuff he found - bikes, mp3 players, etc. fast forward 10 yrs or so & I'm living in this house w 4 of my buddies. Jon the Prophet is still our garbage man.. one time after Christmas, he brings us a brand new xbox360 still in the box. he said he found it on his route & his kids already had one. coolest guy ever. I still consider him a close friend.

Best part about that 360 - I was volunteering at an after school program back then, & shortly after this one of my kids came in bitching that his dad tossed his new xbox bc he & his brothers were fighting over it.

Image credits: LiBiD24


I chucked a tv/vcr combo unit out. About 11pm the doorbell goes and I'm greeted by a man asking about the remote control for it.

Cheeky bastard

Image credits: quackerzzzz


My 86 year old mother lives in a fairly affluent suburb of San Francisco, and every week on Sunday she does her 'run', which consists of going to the local grocery store and BART station to find valuable things.

She picks up BART tickets that still have value that people just drop near the gates. She aggregates them into larger tickets, and then provides them at a very discounted rate to a women's shelter which uses them for their clients.

She picks up cans and bottles to turn them in for the deposit. Even fishes them out of garbage cans if they are close to the top. She also finds a lot of money.

But Mom walks with a pronounced limp, she doesn't dress fancy, and she is very stooped over due to osteoporosis.

People assume she is destitute and homeless, and offer her help, or they drop money when she is close by and walk away for her to 'find' it. Little do they know she owns a home worth over a million dollars free and clear and does not need to do this, she is doing quite well financially. It's mostly exercise for her. Anything she gets she puts into her political fund, which she donates to Democratic candidates.

Image credits: ksiyoto


When former Football player Ricky Williams briefly retired to become a spiritual guru in the hills he moved into a place that was on my recycling route. I noticed a box he tossed once and grabbed it to see if there was any memorabilia or football items related in it. It looked important. What was in it was team doctors papers, contracts and just about all the personal information that one would need to actually become Ricky Williams.

I felt weird that this was out there, so I took it home and burned every piece of it in the fireplace. Felt guilty even looking at it as I tossed it.

Image credits: dewpewdew


Finally my time to shine. I worked as sort of a secondary garbage man (I was on the truck when they needed an extra hand or the main guy was sick) and from the short time I have a list of the things I found. And some of the more valuable things the other guys acquired. Mind you this is from a small Canadian town.

- A working PS3.
- A working iphone 4, (this was before the 5 was introduced)
- 2 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.
- 5 bottles of unopened hard liquor.
- All sorts of hunting equipment.
- And furniture. Lots of good furniture that I ended up refurbishing and selling.

A lot of what I found was technology, simply because I had an eye for it.

The main garbage man had a room in his house dedicated to the things he found.
From $400 snowboards to full toolboxes and audio systems. And the truck driver made about an extra $500 every two months from recycling cans people would throw out.

I also stumbled across a $100 bill once at the landfill.

Image credits: captainfantastyk


A friend whose dad was a garbageman (distant I know but still) once told me he found an engagement ring and a pack of condoms in a small disposable bag, he always wanted to know the story behind it.

Image credits: YouKnowABitJonSnow


I found a unicycle once. Pumped up the tired, cleaned it up, fell off and sold it. That thing was hard to ride.

Image credits: thafezz


I'm really late to this party but I'll go ahead anyway. I work in the office a company that collects garbage. I got a call from a customer and she stated that every time they bring their bin back up from the street, something on it burns their skin. I called the operations manager who went out to check it out with the environmental officer. Turns out the next door neighbor had a substance lab and was disposing of toxic chemicals in his bin and there was some transfer.

Image credits: Sugarbear51


I like to go dumpster diving after the college kids move out of my town and they throw out EVERYTHING because daddy's credit card will buy all new stuff next semester. I have found brand new luggage, leather furniture, and once, a suitcase full of rolls of quarters. These kids are total spoiled brats.

Image credits: anon


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, furnature, decorative odds and ends. He built my sister and I 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 selling people their own fat a**es back to them.

Image credits: tempertantrums


It's always sad to see wedding albums get the toss. My buddy has a quite promising collection of really odd photos going. Animal heads are always a shock. I found a call girls diary once.

Image credits: suck-me-beautiful


Two Egyptian Papyrus paintings, framed.

3 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 $300.

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.

Image credits: Phantom_Scarecrow


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.

Image credits: micge


occasional janitor/after hours worker here (not a garbage man per se) but I have done the job of picking up other people's "trash".

from years of cleaning up different bars and clubs, I have found... jewellery, change, loose bills... tools and decorations, barware, and valuable scraps from doing demolition and renovations...

As an after hours cleaner, I have found cash, IDs, and other personal effects... many times I find cigarette packs (I don't smoke) and even drugs (non-user). Confiscated alcohol usually gets put in the back as it is illegal to have on premises and many times this means free cans of beer or alcohol. only if it's unopened, though.

these sorts of jobs have given me the idea to go around on garbage days and check out what people have put out to trash. I have had some luck going around finding electronics, furniture, appliances, all sorts of things. Example: came home from the bar one night and grabbed a 25-CD changer on my way home. Also, working on job sites for demolitions yields LOTS of valuable scrap. steel, metal, appliances, perfectly good hauls that will net you $$/lb.

..And don't get me started on what I find on the ground just waking around. once I went to Oktoberfest and found 11 drink tickets, 25$ in cash. the next night I went out again and nabbed 6 tickets and $32.50. drink tickets were $6-8 each. all on the floor of the venue, nobody else even noticed. came out with pocket money both nights.

doing the cleanup crew work (waste management, property management, janitorial services) really helps you develop an eye for what people are willing to toss out, lose, and neglect. And there is something to be said for these professionals, they learn to understand the wasteful tendencies of people in general. as stated elsewhere in this thread, people will throw out just about anything.. and yet one man's trash can very well be another's treasure.

Image credits: Delvebot


Buddy of mine used to work at the local dump here in CA. He was graveyard so anything cool he saw during his shift he'd snag. The sheer number of flat screen TVs this guy had was f*****g staggering. He'd sell me a STACK of laptops a week for $20 which I'd then refurbish and make 20-100 times my money back.

Image credits: onijin


Not a garbage man, but I found a framed picture of dogs playing poker one time in an alley. I hung it on my wall.

Image credits: dddash


Not a garbage man, but my buddy curb surfed a neighbor's place while moving out and found a huge box of baseball cards. For those who don't know, most baseball cards made between 1980 and 1995 are completely worthless, but I collect and it was a nice gesture. I dug though about half of them one night and found literally nothing of value of any more than 10 cents or so. The next night i was trying to avoid work and decided to continue on my exercise in futility. At the bottom of the box I notices some cards that looked "different" on their sides. Somehow, some real vintage desirable cards had found their way. Among the, a complete set of 1957 Elvis Cards, a complete 1950s Topps western set, a large group of 1954 Bowman football cards with hall of famers and a 1958 near complete set of Topps cards with Jim Brown Rookie. In all, easily worth $1000=$1500 or so.

Image credits: bbcard1


While working in a landfill, colleague found a briefcase full of nicely arranged gemstone. Ended up getting about 10k for it

Image credits: anon


I sort recycling in a university town, the most valuable things that I find are old textbooks. At the end of every quarter I collect all of the old books and sell them online, I usually make hundreds of dollars.

But other than that I recycle mostly normal things, more pizza boxes than I could ever count. And after a big party weekend tons of alcohol bottles, used condoms, and a few bins full of vomit are pretty typical.

Image credits: fordtough49


Not garbage man, but janitorial work over the summer in a movie theater.

In three months I found about 250 dollars in change and small bills, a very nice "scumbag" hat with the sticker that I actually use because it was surprisingly my size, all kinds of unopened candy that I'd just save, and then a copy of Pokemon Pearl that had a ton of competitive stuff on it, so I palparked everything off and sold the game.

After the third transformers movie came out at midnight I found fifty bucks just sitting on a seat, no one ever came in to claim it.

Image credits: waltons91


Not a binman but when I was 13 a friend of mine and I were doing chores for our neighbor (It was punishment for low grades). We mowed the lawn, dusted his trophies ya know that kinda stuff. Then it came to taking out the trash. I was holding the black t rash bag as I dragged it out the door and the handle snapped off and the bag split. Out spilled some scrunched up torn paper. Wasn't sure what it was at first. After realising that all the pieces formed a picture we sat there for a good 15 minutes trying to make sense out of it.

It was a picture of 40 year old betty white in a bikini. Arguments where had but we eventually split the picture in half. I got those damn legs.

Image credits: YouthoughtIwaserious


My brother in law was working in a depot when a cardboard box rolled off one of the piles, onto the floor. When he kicked it, it was heavy, and the box looked as if it hadn't been opened. He grabbed it and tossed it in his truck. Got home and opened it -- it was a brand new laptop, probably worth $2k.

The theory was that someone who worked at a computer store likely tossed it in the dumpster to fetch it later, but the truck got there before them.

They've still got it and use it daily. :)

Image credits: TemporaryBoyfriend


A relative was working as a garbage man maybe 25 years ago. Once he found a a batch of Coca-Cola bottles from the landfill. These were brought in from the nearby bottling facility. The coke inside was fine, but all the labels were torn, so they couldn't be sold. Also back then the bottles weren't recyclable, so the company just hauled them all to the dump. Not very illegal or valuable but bit strange.

Image credits: Klodviq