By Jeff Ferrell
“Patrolling the neighborhoods of primary citadel worthy, sorting via trash piles, exploring dumpsters, scanning the streets and the gutters for goods misplaced or discarded, I collected the city's degraded bounty, then back domestic to type and catalogue the take.”—From the IntroductionIn December of 2001 Jeff Ferrell hand over his task as tenured professor, moved again to his place of origin of castle worthy, Texas, and, with a spot to reside yet no genuine source of revenue, started an eight-month odyssey of basically residing off of the road. Empire of Scrounge tells the tale of this strange trip into the customarily illicit worlds of scrounging, recycling, and second-hand residing. latest as a dumpster diver and trash picker, Ferrell followed a life-style that was once either box study and free-form survival. driving round on his scrounged BMX bicycle, Ferrell investigated the million-dollar mansions, working-class neighborhoods, center classification suburbs, business and advertisement strips, and the big downtown zone, the place he chanced on numerous discarded treasures, from unopened offers and new outfits to scrap steel or even food.Richly illustrated all through, Empire of Scrounge is either a private trip and a bigger story in regards to the altering values of yank society. maybe nowhere else do the fault strains of inequality get mirrored so sincerely than on the curbside trash can, the place one person's rubbish frequently turns into another's bounty. all through this enticing narrative, packed with a colourful solid of characters, from the mansion dwelling suburbanites to the junk haulers themselves, Ferrell makes a persuasive argument in regards to the hazards of over-consumption. With landfills overflowing, today’s hugely disposable tradition produces extra trash than ever before—and but the urge to devour turns out limitless.In the tip, whereas selecting in the course of the city's trash used to be frequently soiled and ugly paintings, unearthing different people's discards proved to be absolutely illuminating. in spite of everything, what we throw away says extra approximately us than what we retain.
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Additional info for Empire of Scrounge: Inside the Urban Underground of Dumpster Diving, Trash Picking, and Street Scavenging
At a third course, the Trinity served me again. Rockwood Golf Course features a series of holes laid out along a long curve in the river, such that a seemingly straight shot toward the green in fact takes the ball out over the river. The stretch of the river is too deep and too dirty for golf ball diving—but on a little-used spit of public land across its long curve from the course, lost golf balls nestle in the tall grass like so many little white Easter eggs. As must already be obvious, this is absurd: skidding to a stop for a penny, belly crawling for golf balls while having my scrounged shorts damn near torn oV, wealthy golfers hooking and slicing me a living of sorts.
Spotting a coin or tool or lead weight, quickly checking the traYc behind and in front of me, I’d cut a tight circle, swooping back around to brake and pick up the object. Once I moved to my scrounged BMX bicycle, this sort of rhythmic scrounging also moved to a diVerent level. Built small and close to the ground, the bike oVered a particularly detailed examination of street objects, and a very short turning radius upon their discovery. But with coaster brakes that regularly malfunctioned, it also oVered others an odd sight: my left leg splayed out, my foot dragging, as I circled and attempted to stop, sometimes on a dime.
Once in, clambering amid honeybees buzzing discarded soda cans for their corn syrup, the accidental accretion of tossed-in materials makes for some relatively risky exploration, with false bottoms, angled piles of debris that give way under foot, and accumulations of rain water underneath. Rollaways’ contents, though, make them well worth the eVort, and worth the consequent cuts, bruises, and bee stings. Especially good resources for copper wiring and copper pipe, aluminum scrap, lumber, tools, and antique Wxtures, their size is such that they also become home for everything from discarded doors and windows to riding mowers and bicycles.