It’s Curb Day

May 16, 2009 at 5:37 am | Posted in News | 3 Comments

couch_curb2Come ‘n’ get it. Today is the first-ever Curb Day, on which we are all urged to put our unwanted clutter out in front of our houses, on curbs, for passing scavengers to take. On this day of days, we scavengers are also urged to cruise the curbs of our choosing and collect. It’s the brainchild of Mike Morone, a former business guy in wastern New York State who found himself taking home so many discards from so many curbs that he decided to nudge this practice into a nationwide holiday. As the coauthors of a new book about scavenging, Kristan and I were interviewed about it for a story in yesterday’s Hartford Courant.

At Curbday.com, Mike writes:

“We throw out tons of garbage. Along with garbage, though, we also throw out lots of valuable items –- items that others would love to own. Here’s how it typically goes – in your garage is a great bike you rode maybe twice in five years. It’s taking up space. When you finally get sick of looking at it, you wheel it out with your trash on garbage day. Problem solved? Not really. So here’s this beautiful bike out by the curb, free to a good home. But no one knows about it. And the people who rush by on their way to work are too sleepy to pick it up. So your bike winds up with thousands of others like it –- rusting in a landfill.

“Meanwhile, millions of kids all over the place would love to own that bike. This culture of excess ownership and waste is prevalent in our country. It wasn’t like that in the old days –- just ask your grandparents….

“Curb Day is a simple two-pronged solution: 1. Let’s not throw out valuable items with our garbage 2. Let’s put our items out on the same day –- so others can easily pick them up.”

Mike warns, however, that certain items are verboten, including food, chemicals, toxic substances, weapons, recyclables and anything illegal.

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  1. Here in El Paso, any day is curb day. My husband and I call it “curb-cycling.” Many times we have put unwanted items out at the curb and in less than two hours it is all gone. You see, here along the border with Mexico there are many economically-disadvantaged people. They do not have much and know the value of re-use and re-purposing, so scavenging is a way of life. As a matter of fact, there is a whole culture of cardboard and wood pallet scavenging. The Mexican men on their three-wheeled bicycles piled high with scavenged cardboard are called “cartoneros.” There are photos of the cartoneros at http://border-blog.com/407.html.

  2. I love cruising alleys for freebies. Unfortunately, it’s discouraged (even illegal) here in San Diego. Such a shame. I’ve always wondered why the landfill doesn’t set up a thrift store of all the good stuff that’s thrown away. I mean, it’s a win-win. Less space to the landfill, less waste, and shoppers get a bargain.

  3. I think it is an amazing idea/concept … wish you could see more of this happening around. Around here it is typically referred to as bulk pick-up day so you have to get to people’s properties before the garbage trucks come and take the stuff to the landfill :(

    I love that thrift store idea at the landfill!! We have clothing drop-offs at the local landfill, but yes, a thrift sort of deal. I am guessing it would be a significant manpower question though for the landfill – and we all know that most goverments do not like to spend any more money than they really have to. Let’s just dump our garbage, bury it and let the next generation worry about it. Argh.


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