We find a pile of recycle treasure right at our town dump.   We visit every week to drop of some trash, and so we scan what discarded items we might be able to reuse on our homestead.   I know that not everyone can be this fortunate – to have a dump that allows you to collect materials left by others.   But for those of us that have it, it’s a wonderful resource!

Recycle treasure
Treasure is waiting for us at the local dump

Recycle treasure items that we can collect for free include:

Lumber – there is a lumber pile that you can take material from.   You are not allowed to climb the pile, but a quick scouting each week can get you a lot of materials for building jobs.  Sheets of ply and construction particle board, dimensional lumber, internal doors are very common.  I have also found balustrade, ladders, pallets etc.

Recycle treasure
Lumber pile at our dump

For some strange reason treated lumber is placed into a bin from which you can’t collect.   I would have thought that people wanting to reuse treated lumber would be a better solution that having to dispose of the chemically treated wood?

Roofing shingles – while the vast majority of the material is used, broken and torn shingles, builders also drop off unused portions of packages and occasionally FULL packets.  You can always find enough to roof a small shed or chicken coop.

Recycle treasure
Roofing shingles

Windows and external doors – windows of all sizes and shapes and kind (wood, aluminum and vinyl) can be had.  Again, these are perfect for building a shed or chicken coop.  Sometimes windows from an entire house renovation can be found…all matching and often not in very bad shape.

Recycle treasure
Windows and doors

Plasterboard/dry wall – if you just need a small piece to make a repair, this is the place to come.  You have to time it in a dry spell so you don’t just have a pile of wet sheets.

Recycle treasure
Drywall pile


Recycle treasure at a small cost – the dump store
After all the free stuff is perused, we then have an area in which dump workers place items that they feel should be reused.   This is the dump store – and normally has furniture, tools etc.   We have found some wonderful items in here too…and they charge a few dollars for large items and a few cents for others.

Recycle treasure
The ‘store’ items

Check the rules before you go on your recycle treasure hunt
Before you go to your dump and start ‘collecting’ you will need to ask and make sure that ‘scrounging’ at the dump is allowed.  Some places allow it.  Other places it is forbidden!

Some other places always worth checking out:
Building site dumpsters – but you must get permission BEFORE you collect.  Go find the owner of the site foreman and get their express permission.
Business dumpsters (especially hardware stores) – again…get permission, but these can be very worthwhile as they discard items that they believe will not be able to be sold.
Lumber mills – often allow people to pick over their discard pile before it is burnt.   You need to always ASK FIRST  (do you see the theme here).



Recycle treasure – found at the town dump.

One thought on “Recycle treasure – found at the town dump.

  • July 26, 2015 at 1:12 pm

    Here in New York our town dumps have been gone 20 years, and regional ‘Transfer stations’ and their no touch policies make all attempts at recycling harder !

    I want to commend the Finger Lakes re-use Group who De-Constructs entire houses saving as much as 85 % from ending in a land fill !

    This is copied from efforts in Burlington VT. and we hope to start one for St.Law County here this year !

    See link Below !



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