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The Greenbox Thrift Store

By: Tommy B

Before I moved to Floyd County I used to take all of my old or unwanted stuff to Goodwill, Salvation Army, local thrift store, or, shamefully, just throw it in the trash. Not now. Since moving back to Floyd I have learned of the fine art of “Greenbox Recycling.” What I used to call dumpsters are now affectionately known as Greenboxes. Granted the Greenboxes are still for trash, but the area adjacent to the dumpsters are a local thrift store. Let me give you an example, but first let me explain the trash p/u method of Floyd County.

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I live in a very rural and large county. To have a trash truck drive all the local roads to pick up trash every week isn’t financially (or ecologically) feasible for the County, so they have about a dozen (guessing here) spots around the county where they have 4 or 5 dumpsters each. The residents of Floyd County take their trash to these areas when they have the need. Sometimes if I am going to town and know I will pass a Greenbox I will load a bag or two in the car and deposit it en-route to Floyd proper. Other times I will save my trash up until I have no more room in my outside trash cans and take a truck load all at once. Anyway, you get the point. I think it is a great system and it gets even better…

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I don't know this girl either, but I thought it was a fun pic.

One day I was driving down the road and saw “something” outside one of the dumpsters and curiosity got the best of me – cause I’m a scavenger at heart – and I stopped to take a gander. The object I saw was a perfectly good kids’ kitchen set made of wood, complete with pots and pans! Luckily, I was in my truck that day and having two young girls scooped it up and took it home. After using some hi-test cleaner on it I gave it to my oldest daughter and she LOVED it! All it cost me was a bit of time and cleaning and she had a new toy!

Needless to say, the next time I passed the dumpsters I was rubber necking looking for goodies, and those I found. Over the next few months I found a nice marble topped table, a Tyco car (one of those big red ones) for my daughter, a bag of clothes hangers, some scrap 2×4’s and the list goes on. It was then that I realized people were leaving this stuff outside the Greenboxes intentionally! They didn’t want to see their perfectly good scraps or junk going in the dumpster so put it out for folks like me.

It wasn’t long before I started giving back. Now, instead of taking my old and used stuff to the thrift store I put it outside the Greenboxes. It’s neat because when I put something next to the dumpster and go to town, when I come back it is almost always gone – sometimes within the hour! I even “recycled” the kitchen play set my daughter no longer used and it was gone within hours.

My in-laws were in town one time and we were passing the Greenboxes and saw some boxes on the ground and immediately stopped to check it out. Now, when they visit they stop when they see “stuff” outside the boxes! Just the other day I saw a blurry something and decided to check it out. It ended up being two large military half barrels, complete with lids,  in perfectly good shape w/o a spec of rust! It’s funny because I went to the local feed store a bit later and told the clerk (my friend) my score and he gave a few course words, because he had saw the blur too but didn’t stop because he didn’t want to be late for work.

Seems Floyd is full of Scavengers!

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Comments (6)

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  1. janet stenner says:

    I’m a rescuer by heart and I also work for Oxfam so my husband sighs deeply when I come home with another bag full of????(but I’m helping the third world after all!!)

  2. That’s great that the residents of your county have worked out a system like this on their own. It’s a shame that there isn’t a covered area for people to place things underneath though to keep it out of the weather though. But it sounds like anything that’s left gets snapped up pretty quickly anyway!

    Our recycling centres work in the same way – you drive in and there are bins for recycling and larger bins for rubbish then you loop down and next to the exit is covered area where you can leave and pick up household items, toys, books and furniture. I have to have a look through each time I visit so I completely understand your scavenging excitement :)

  3. SanDandy says:

    I am a scavenger at heart as well. And you won’t believe what some people throw away.

  4. Cara says:

    This is some organically occurring potlatch style economy developing here, and I love it! Industry has manufactured enough STUFF; if we were to just redistribute and recirculate, we would all keep getting “new” stuff for years into the future. I live near some green boxes in Floyd, and have noticed this trend picking up. Just last week, my brother-in-law and I were saying it would be great to have a covered area. Then clothes and other water sensitive stuff could be left more easily. On a related tangent, I recently learned that only 15 to 20 percent of the clothing we donate to Goodwill winds up being sold in their stores. 45 percent or more is shipped overseas, and the majority of our clothing exports go to Africa, (which has effectively put an end to their own textile industry.) But I digress…Floyd ROCKS! Go Greenboxing!

  5. tommy says:

    It’s good to know there are more scavengers out there! And speaking of, I “donated” a box of books just yesterday and when I came back through an hour later someone had lalready got them!

  6. Lisa says:

    My county used to be the same. A bunch of greenboxes and twice a week pickup. Lots of good stuff outside the boxes. Now we have a recycling dump. County commissioners told the good folks of our county separate your trash by recyclables or your taxes will rise a whole lot. Pretty soon there were attendants and a complex system that does not allow “recycling” of the good stuff. And, what started as a moneymaker for our county became a moneycoster. But our taxes have not gone up so no one complains much but us oldtimers who remember the old system and true recycling.

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