Rag Picking in the USA

Bainbridge Island’s Rotary Club puts on a rummage sale and auction each year that’s so big it can be seen from Google Earth’s satellites. They raise hundreds of thousands of dollars in a matter of days, all to the credit of local volunteers and dedicated rotarians. What’s their secret? Our stuff. Our unwanted mountains of household items we don’t need anymore but still have a long life in them for others to use. Thousands of home, kitchen, and garden things are dropped off each day for 5 days, and all are placed into various departments of the sale: housewares, arts & crafts, sporting goods, children’s books, lawn mowers. It’s a shabby chic department store for a day, with prices you can’t beat anywhere in the northwest.

This is a film about a family that volunteered to do dumpster duty. It’s narrated by a 5-year-old girl and told from her perspective as she attempted to divert as many recyclable and reusable items she could from a 40-yard container that was destined for the landfill.


Categories: Repurpose and Reuse, Think About It, Trash Pile - All Our Stuff


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  1. The Frugal Santa: Doll Ornaments « Trash Backwards - December 21, 2012

    […] of our ornaments are handmade or free finds we’ve rescued from the landfill. That’s not to say our tree looks like it’s decorated with junk. Quite the contrary, […]

  2. 50 Garden Solutions You’ll Find In Your Trash | Trash Backwards - March 12, 2013

    […] 41) Ski Fence: If anyone lives in the Seattle area and wants to make one of these, please contact us as we have several hundred skis at the end of our Rotary Auction. […]

  3. A Buy Nothing Birthday | Buy Nothing Project - August 27, 2013

    […] boxes-worth of toys and science projects from our local Rotary Auction. All the items we found were rescued from being tossed into a dumpster. The treasure hunt was a huge success — 23 separate secret locations, each housing a little […]

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