Early on Friday 20 October, I spoke with CBC Radio One Metro Morning host Matt Galloway about dumpster diving, Acts of Salvage, taboos about waste and similar subjects.
Some highlights of our conversation:
– It is possible to find just about anything at curbside: furniture; books; bicycles; children’s toys; dishes; architectural salvage; metals, bottles and similar materials to sell as scrap or for recycling; clothing; even food. [I admitted I draw the line at food, and have to admit it’s unlikely I’d pick up clothing at curbside — although I’ve salvaged some wonderful fabric later used to reupholster salvaged furniture.]
– Taboos about waste have as much to do with purifying ontological categories (clean/dirty) as they do with the things we actually throw out. On the show I pointed out that we think of new clothing and supermarket food as clean, and yet some new clothing and carpeting off-gas known carcinogens, and food recalls are commonplace due to common contaminants we don’t even think to suspect.
– Through the things we throw out, it is possible to trace and even predict socio-economic shifts in a neighbourhood. The best neighbourhoods for scavenging, in my experience, are areas in transition, with solid homes whose long-term residents are starting to give way to new inhabitants. The transition produces quite a few interesting objects purged from basements, attics and garages.
Interested in hearing the whole thing? You can listen and/or download the podcast here.