Piled With Treasure

Kelsey Rumburg
3 min readOct 8, 2021

According to the University of Southern Indiana, the U.S. is the #1 trash-producing country in the world at 1,609 pounds per person per year. This means that 5% of the world’s people generate 40% of the world’s waste, which ends up in local landfills. This is sobering, at the very least.

Have you ever seen your local landfill? And, when you saw one, did you see a goldmine? There’s so much treasure and business potential that can be found there!

Photo by John Cameron on Unsplash

For instance, millions of tons of electronic products that have almost reached their shelf life eventually find their way to the landfill. Cal Recycle, a department of the California government, shares that you can literally stumble upon “computers, televisions, smartphones, old VCRs, stereos, copiers, and fax machines.”

All of these old, unwanted electronics are known as e-waste. Yet, many of these products can be reused, refurbished, or recycled, which can be a real money-maker for those who are willing to think outside of the proverbial box.

With our technology constantly changing, it has become common for computers or smartphones to be used for a few years, and then, the consumer is on to the next big thing.

If we can find innovative ways to take old parts of electronic devices to refurbish other devices, we can help reduce e-waste.

On top of that, it may cost a few cents or dollars to “fix” the device, but when you re-sell it, you may even be able to make a 100% profit. So, spending, say, $.50 to fix a device could potentially turn into earning $50 when you “flip it!” This is definitely something worth looking into. Plus, you have the opportunity to gain some technical knowledge in the process.

Let’s not forget about old appliances either. Washers and dryers, old toasters, coffee makers, automatic can openers. All of these items can often be fixed quite easily. Most of us usually never give it a second thought and just go buy another one when it seems “broken beyond repair.”

Other things found in a landfill that can easily turn into a business idea are aluminum cans that can be recycled and even glass pieces.

Waste Advantage magazine shares that “once collected, glass is broken up into smaller pieces, crushed, sorted, and cleaned. It can then be mixed with other constituents like sand, then melted and molded into the desired shape.” Just imagine all of the new masterpieces one could create.

The metal, fabric, and plastic that makeup mattresses can also be repurposed. Books are often thrown away when the binding has become loose. Learning how to re-bind books can be another great way to make extra money.

Tires and batteries can be broken down to reuse and sell as well. And, of course, food can turn into a business venture: every year, each American throws out about 1,200 pounds of organic garbage that can be composted (University of Southern Indiana).

Clothing can be salvaged, cleaned, torn, and then sewn into other items such as blankets and couch cushion covers… The possibilities are truly endless!

So, you see. If you have even a tad bit of creativity, you can realize that landfills are piled with treasure that can easily turn into a profit.

What are you turning into treasure this week?







Kelsey Rumburg

As an adventurous farm girl, I am a creator on a mission to build a better economy. I question our idea of trash and look for new ways to use our resources!