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One’s trash, another’s treasure

May 14, 2012

People search for salvageable items among those brought to Drop and Swap Saturday at the Wapakoneta Public Works Building.

Even before the line of vehicles waiting to get rid of unwanted items wrapped around to where items were being unloaded by crews for the city’s Drop and Swap, many of the goods were already gone.

As residents, such as  Wapakoneta’s Nathan Johnson, approached the vehicles and collected items in which they were interested.

“We’re looking for washers and dryers, miscellaneous appliances and items we can rebuild and resell,” Johnson said.

Just two hours into the event, Johnson said he and several other friends, who had come together to see what they could find, were doing quite well and had trailers and the backs of their pickups full.

“It’s quite surprising how well we’ve done actually,” Johnson said.

One of his most notable finds was a fairly new side-by-side refrigerator and freezer unit he quickly grabbed in the hopes of making the needed repairs on it and giving it to a buddy who recently lost his in a house fire.

Other items filling the back of his pickup he would sell mostly to friends and acquaintances once they are repaired for a minimum profit of $50 each, but he would sell them for much less than they could be purchased elsewhere.

“I’ve always been into fixing things,” said Johnson, who typically drives around looking for items he can repair.

Often he will get them from a junkyard for a few dollars, but he said he can’t beat getting them for free in Wapakoneta.

Of course, there are also those items that Johnson looks at and doesn’t get, knowing they can’t be as easily or cheaply repaired.

The key is finding newer models which may have just had mechanical parts go bad, as fixing older units can be more costly and not worth the resale value.

Auglaize County Solid Waste District Coordinator Dave Reichelderfer said they’ve been holding the Drop and Swap and Household Hazardous Collection days for nearly 20 years. The Household Hazardous Waste Day alternates between being held in Wapakoneta and then at the Auglaize County Recycling Center near St. Marys.

Saturday’s drop off was typical, Reichelderfer said.

“It’s hard to tell just seeing the stuff in here,” Reichelderfer said of items that actually made it in to the drop-off point at the Wapakoneta Public Works Building on Saturday. “So much never gets in here.”

He said people really seem to take advantage of the opportunity and often the same people return year after year, both those getting rid of their unwanted, but reusable, items and those interested in what others are “dropping.”

“Anything in here they want they can have for free,” Reichelderfer said. “Others use it to get rid of their unwanted items.”

He said the Household Hazardous Waste Day collection keeps those items out of landfills for a minimal charge and allows what can be to be recycled.

The swap allows people to get rid of things they no longer want and for others to take them home, again, with the idea that they may not end up in landfills.

Unwanted items dropped off Saturday could be taken by those interested then or again during a shopping period on Sunday.

Reichelderfer said many of the most common items dropped off on Saturday, from car batteries to computer parts and electronics, could be brought in any week, but people tend to wait.

Joyce Rolston, of Uniopolis, brought unwanted chemicals to the drop off Saturday and said it’s a good way to get rid of those items.

Paint is the most common item collected during the day, but batteries and tires are often dropped off, too.

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