Author Topic: Survival gear from found and recycled sources.  (Read 2650 times)

Offline DIM TIM

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Survival gear from found and recycled sources.
« on: February 07, 2009, 12:17:08 AM »
I recently came across some things that get thrown out to the trash where I work, and had a couple of ideas pop into my head for using them as materials for survival use, and wanted to share them with everyone.
This is not the first time that I have seen something that was intended for a specific use, but could also be used for something survival related. I had a bunch of things this past summer that I came across while cleaning out a large amount of "junk" left behind by a person that was living in a family members rental property.
Things like...glass jars, metal cans, rope and strings, etc, etc;
If objects like these are viewed as things that can be recycled and re-used, the possibility for uses for survival gear and tools starts to become more easily seen.

Now as to the things that get thrown out at wotk....... I work for a company that does gontract work for The Postal Service, The Social Security Administration, as well as a lot of other local and state agencies that require bulk mailing services.
We go thru very large amounts of paper stock, both roll stock and printed forms, cupons, etc, etc;
During my time with the company, I have come across many items that are treated as waste, and are sent to the trash compactor.Here are a few that I have come across.

We get large skids of envelopes that are wrapped with plastic stretch wrap. Lately, one of our suppliers has placed large sheets of clear plastic sheeting (4 1/2'x 4 1/2') on the top of the stock before wrapping them with the stretch film. I have started to remove these and save them, and as long as they keep doing it, I have a good supply of plastic sheeting for projects like....... cold frame cover material, row covers, etc, for gardening. Covers for smaller windows in the winter to help stop drafts. Material to make a solar still to supply drinking water. A couple in a BOB or GHB, or a small survival kit, could be used to cover a small debris or lean-to shelter to hellp repel rain and snow. Ground covers or cover to be put over top a sleeping bag if exposed, to repel dew.
I'm sure there are many more uses that I just have not thought of yet, but you get the idea.

Another item is small bits of cotton string that turn up in our returned mail trays. These can be sometimes as long as 3-4 feet in length. A small hand-full of these can be used to tie small branches together for that debris shelter or lean-to. Tie tomato vines up in the garden. Emergency snare of fishing line. Again, ther are many more than I could think of right now.

One of my favorites, but the supply of these has stopped, and I don't know if they will ever use them again because of the cheaper alternatives, but for a while, I was able to get hold of some 1 1/2" wide nylon webbing in lengths that ran from around 3' to 7' in length. These were used to secure some of the large rolls of papre stock that we processed into forms and letters every day. When the employees that did this work got the rolls in on the skids, they were probably upwards of around 12' to 16' in continious length, but they would cut one side completly thru, and you would then have 2 or 3 smaller pieces, and some very small ones when the cut was near the end ( 6-8" pieces ). I asked the three shift supervisors in the print department to have their people save them for me instead of throwing them out as they would normally do, and over the coarse of the time that they had this webbing on these rolls, I was able to get a few hundred linear feet of hte stuff. The uses for this are too numerous to put here. Homemade web gear was the first thing that came to mind when i started to get this nice little treasure.

Another supply of nice "trash" from work is the supply of wood products that gets thrown out from time to time. 2x4s, 2x2s, etc;
About a year ago, we got in some new machinery, and there was a small mountain of wood that I secured for myself, just by asking for the skids ( a couple of them were about 10-12' in length) as well as the smaller support, cribbing, and brace pieces that came along with them. And I have even had dozens and dozens of pieces of white oak and pine boards that have been broken off of the wooden skids that our stock comes on, thrown into the back of my truck, in piles to be brought home to use as firewood in our backyard fire pit for many hotdog roast.
Recently, I have seen a number of lath type pieces that are made into a protective top on some stock, and these form a 4' square panel with a piece down the middle, and the thought struck me that these could be covered with chicken wire, to make fencing panels for small livestock. I have no real need for them, but if times do get a lot tougher than what they are right now, a small backyard flock of chickens can be kept safe by these panels posted and wired together to make a good sized run. I plan on asking for them next week, and if I can start geting them, I will add them to the covered woodpile behind our garden shed, to be saved until I need to use them, and even if I don't use them for that, they would also make some good frames for the garden to make trellises for tomatos, beans, cukes, etc;

So as you can see from these examples that I have given here, If you keep your eyes open, and your mind set on the possibility of using something for survuval and preparedness, you can find all sorts of things to help make life a bit easier and better for you and your family.

millerized1

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Re: Survival gear from found and recycled sources.
« Reply #1 on: February 07, 2009, 05:54:32 AM »
And to think someone calls you DIM...
+1 for thinking outside of the wooden box.

Offline swanson

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Re: Survival gear from found and recycled sources.
« Reply #2 on: February 07, 2009, 06:06:57 AM »
+1,

Great post and angle.

You have all the hallmarks of a first class scrounger.

Here's another thing to look for when scrounging -

~ Tyvek sheeting ~

It's awesome stuff to use for ground cloths, weather barriers and as a part of impromptu shelters.

Every once in a while I cruise past construction sites and check the waste and dumpster bins for appropriate Tyvek scraps.

swanson

Offline robt871

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Re: Survival gear from found and recycled sources.
« Reply #3 on: February 07, 2009, 06:52:18 AM »
I love to dumpster dive

Offline DIM TIM

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Re: Survival gear from found and recycled sources.
« Reply #4 on: February 07, 2009, 09:14:08 AM »
+1,

Great post and angle.

You have all the hallmarks of a first class scrounger.

Here's another thing to look for when scrounging -

~ Tyvek sheeting ~

It's awesome stuff to use for ground cloths, weather barriers and as a part of impromptu shelters.

Every once in a while I cruise past construction sites and check the waste and dumpster bins for appropriate Tyvek scraps.

swanson
Yeah, I know what you mean there Swanson. If I had a little bigger place, and if the wife was a bit more understanding, then I could have a scroungers salvage type of business going on the side here. With our disposable culture still not catching on to the fact that things are as bad as everyone sees in the news in other countries around the world, as well as right here in our own, as long as folks keep throwing out good useable and servicable items to the trash heaps, there will still be a host of folks out ther such as myself, that will gladly take them off of their hands.
Two such instances come directly to mind for myself, and one for a friend and his wife.

Over the coarse of the last 6 months, I have come across some folks that were throwing out a bit of "junk", and have three good floor lamps in my posession as of this moment. Two of them, even though they were two different finishes (one was a brushed silver, and the other a antique bronze), the lamps were the same. The only problems were, they were dirty and had some stuff spilled on them, and one of the glass shades was broken in two pieces. I cleaned the lamps off, and have found some real nice replacement shades being sold at the local Lowe's and Home Depot, for less than $10. And another one on a different day, only needs to have a new socket to be once again puting out some light.
One of the first two, is sitting beside me right now as I write this post. The other two that are sitting in my shed awaiting to be repaired when warm weather returns, will be yard sale material this spring, and the funds from their sale will be all put towards more preparedness items for us.

The other instance happened to a friend and his wife who go "trash picking" every year during their towns annual junk week. They went thru a bunch of things that was thrown out by some family members, at an old womans house that had recently died a short time before. They had made a few "good" finds, but were not prepared for what they came across in one can of "junk". The family had thrown out all of her old medications. His wife was concerned that some kids would find them and be hurt, so she started to dump them out on the ground, and crush them under foot. She picked up one, that sounded different when it rattled. When she opened it, she was shocked to discover a bunch of rings inside. They went to a jewlery store to get them appraised, and just one of the cocktail rings in that pill bottle was worth over $10,00 by itself. Not a bad dat of trash picking for sure.

So I just smile when friends and family give me a hard time about doing this, and smile even bigger each time I go to the scrap metal yard with a firebox or two from an old gas grill that someone has thrown out, or half a dozen aluminum lawn chair frames and dozens of storm window frames. Yep... with that and all of the cans that I take, we do ok around here during junk week.