Garbage Scout
February 4, 2006 9:11 PM   Subscribe

GarbageScout. An interactive online map for locating and posting free stuff that's lying around your neighborhood.
posted by stbalbach (22 comments total)
Once again, it's proven that NYC is the centre of the webiverse.

Never been there. Don't care to.
posted by Kickstart70 at 9:16 PM on February 4, 2006

Seems like this would need some realtime updating, perhaps from outer space or Craig's list
posted by longsleeves at 9:37 PM on February 4, 2006

It rocks. Wish it had my city. Wives with scavenger type husbands who use garbage scout , be afraid be very afraid
posted by celerystick at 10:04 PM on February 4, 2006

Hmm... should I enter in the big bag of aluminum cans outside my apartment?
posted by Citizen Premier at 10:34 PM on February 4, 2006

Kickstart70, it doesn't care about you either.
posted by newton at 10:39 PM on February 4, 2006

If you don't live in NYC, Freecycle is the next best thing.
posted by Bucket o' Heads at 10:46 PM on February 4, 2006

This is the kind of thing that is just bizarre to people living outside of big cities.
posted by smackfu at 11:01 PM on February 4, 2006

...if your neighbourhood is New York City.
posted by baklavabaklava at 11:30 PM on February 4, 2006

Seems like this would need some realtime updating

Yeah, my first concern was, how current would this info really be?

Dunno how close to realtime it was but this one was first posted less than six hours ago and it's already flagged "Gone," so that's pretty impressive in terms of updating.

At any rate, it would be great to see this in Phila.
posted by soyjoy at 11:35 PM on February 4, 2006

This is the kind of thing that is just bizarre to people living outside of big cities.

You can't fool me. I've been out to the suburbs and the countryside and there was just as much garbage in those places as there is in the city. Different garbage, for sure, but garbage all the same.

The only differences are that there might not be as many people who feel they can make use of it, or that some suburban people might feel a greater sense of social stigma attached to the idea of recycling.
posted by PeterMcDermott at 3:47 AM on February 5, 2006

Bucket o' Heads: If you don't live in NYC, Freecycle is the next best thing.

I looked at my local Freecycle group and it seemed that 90% of the posts were by women and 70% were asking for things, not offering things.

Somewhat different than the seemingly more masculine GarbageScout which gave the impression of guys who came across finds that they thought might be useful but not valuable enough for them to snatch.
posted by MonkeySaltedNuts at 4:05 AM on February 5, 2006

Free things are left on the street/road everywhere, not just NYC, and the service is set to expand elsewhere, it uses Google Earth. Updates can be made with an email from a camera-enabled cell-phone .. send a pic real-time.
posted by stbalbach at 6:07 AM on February 5, 2006

This is fun but it can't work well. People are grabby in this city, and ten minutes after you turn your back on a free item, either someone else snaps it up or else it begins to rain all over it. You'd have much more luck just hauling the item home yourself and then selling it on craigslist.
posted by hermitosis at 6:31 AM on February 5, 2006

I zoomed out and moved the map in the direction of my neighborhood, but apparently the only entries are all in a little blob up in some obscure corner of the country.

That's a shame, it might have been a useful or at least interesting service.
posted by majick at 7:43 AM on February 5, 2006

MonkeySaltedNuts, you can sign up to recieve notices about only items you're looking for on the Freecycle finder without getting all the WANTED: posts.
posted by scottreynen at 7:54 AM on February 5, 2006

Wow, this is an amazing, excellent idea, thanks for the link stbalbach!

Yes, picking up things/furniture/antiques off NYC street horrifies any of my out of town friends. It's shameful to them to imagine picking up 'junk' off the street but is one of those NYC traditions that comes out of living together with so many people in transition, moving. Somehow to out of towners 'junk from the street' is contaminated but stuff in a thrift shop is fine. NYC is a pragmatic city with a lot of anonymity i.e. less shame about picking up free stuff from the street.

As a former super of two buildings in midtown I can tell you that the GarbageScout link might be an excellent resource for building supers, who often have to deal with disposing major quantities of often very usable left property when tenants leave or throw things away. CraigsList can take a lot of time, not be convenient and the landlord may request that a departed tenant's left belongings be gotten rid of today.

Not everything gets snapped up by random passersby, there can be things too heavy or too large for most people to take away impromptu, by hand or shopping cart.

I've seen an entire floor of a large office building throw away almost a hundred great swivel office chairs and desks at one time, that were being hauled over hours into a garbage truck for grinding up. What a waste! I'm sitting right now on one of those chairs I wheeled home on foot years ago, at a desk a neighbor threw away, using a computer that an office tossed, looking at a pine rocker and arm chair I got off the street and a hand welded steel table on castors thrown out by Sharper Image.

I've seen hotels going out of biz or renovating that throw furniture, mirrors, pictures and frames, lighting into the dumpster.

Frequently when people die hundreds of great books of all kinds get dumped on the street in cardboard boxes. Anyway, I think this GarbageScout is a great idea!
posted by nickyskye at 7:59 AM on February 5, 2006

Nickyskye: It may surprise you but many people in larger cities and the other 95% of America often pick up things off the street or in the alley. As much as y'all want to believe, there's nothing at all unique about New Yorkers.
posted by DieHipsterDie at 2:55 PM on February 5, 2006

Frequently when people die hundreds of great books of all kinds get dumped on the street in cardboard boxes.

Now THAT is horrifying.

Good to see a interesting use of Google those examples of 2.0 sites that actually provide a service. Can't wait til this happens in every big city - not that most can compare in greatness to NYC....
posted by rmm at 7:14 PM on February 5, 2006

Yeah, I find it hard to believe that garbage-picking and dumpster-diving is somehow a NYC or even an urban phenomenon. From people scouring the garbage dumps in Whitehorse to the great couch castaway bazaars at most college towns (even immortalized in commercials, or did you forget that VW ad with the easy chair and "Da da da"?), finding "another man's treasure" seems to be a universal sport.
posted by chrominance at 7:50 PM on February 5, 2006

I'm not saying I'm too good to pick up garbage. I'm saying the garbage isn't good enough to get picked up.
posted by smackfu at 7:53 PM on February 5, 2006

LOL DieHipsterDie, it's good to hear that picking up stuff on the street is ok around the USA. :) That hasn't been the impression I've gotten from friends visiting NYC from out of town. Glad they are the exceptions. Since NYC is largely made up of people from elsewhere, it makes complete sense that New Yorkers are not unique. :-)
posted by nickyskye at 9:27 PM on February 5, 2006

Another step closer to fulfilling that basic assumption of total knowledge of the 'market' all economic players are supposed to have?

also, i don't think dumptering is universal, though i can confirm it happens in rural/small town Georgia, and fulfills many needs.

But apparently picking stuff off the street is frowned upon in St. Lucia. Someone might have left it there to pick up later!
posted by eustatic at 5:03 PM on February 6, 2006

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