Not all trash is created equal. Here is a collection of stories about items I've found in the river and then repurposed. Some trash is my treasure.... and some trash is literally treasure.
We were having a glass of wine in our front yard and pondering what to plant in our front window planter. We wanted something tropical but knew tropical plants would not survive a Virginia winter. So then we got creative. I suggested we should forget plants all together and come up with some sort of decoration. I encouraged my wife to just start brainstorming some ideas and she came up with the "dock" idea! The best part is, I already had most of the stuff in our side yard after finding hauling it from the river. Found items include: boat bumpers, hanging planter, buoys, ropes, oar on mailbox, and netting. Even the wood was dumped just off of a parking lot where I launch from. Not shown new additions: soda bottles, figurine, and antique glass bottles.
Since decorating, our neighbors have affectionately named our house "The Florida House." Folks frequently stop as they drive or walk by to tell us how much they like it. And I'm always happy to mention that it all came the river! One man's trash is another man's treasure!
When I started SUP Garbage Man I had only two large grey trash cans that I previously used for yard waste. Once I stared bringing home large volumes of trash from the river I quickly started using those cans to sort trash from recycling. Over the course of a few months I found several other trash cans in the river or along the shore. Some of them were broken beyond repair and had to be discarded. However, I was able to salvage and reuse five of them. I store recyclable bottles in the two big ones with lids until I have enough to bring to a county collection point. The smaller three are good for yard waste or an occasional overflow of recycling.
I've also found several milk crates in and along the river that I now use to store glass bottles before bringing them to a separate collection point.
We've recently started a garden by repurposing a handful of cinder blocks we had at the house. The main garden area is for vegetables but the pots around the outside are for herbs. We discovered that plant pots fit perfectly into the trays used for shipping 2-liter bottles after I found one in river. Since finding the first one I've found about four others. They are very handy when we need to move a bunch of herb plants at one time. We were also able to cut up a silver helium balloon I found and use the strips as a type of bird deterrent. The parachute cord the balloon strips are tied to also came from the river.
What good is a garden if we can't water it? Not very good, I imagine. Well, rather than discard the orange water cooler I found in the river, we decided to use it to store rain water we collect. (I collect the rain in buckets that I also found in the river.) Oh, and the planter the cooler is sitting on was a river find as well. Not only are we being sustainable by using rain water, we are storing the rain water in items I found in the river.