There is a shit ton, pardon ma french, of money to be made as a landfill miner, but I ‘spect ya already know that.
I started out as a heavy equipment operator, ma job was to make sure all the garbage dumped was packed down good’n’tight and then bury it.
It was a good job.
For the first 5 or 6 years I kept ma mind occupied by smokin’ cigarettes. I’d just smoke one after the other and push the trash around, bury it, keep the dump goin’. It was good honest work, ya got over the smell eventually and we got insurance outta it.
But anyway, I’d drive ma dozer around and smoke like a chimney all day ‘til ma wife, God Bless her, told me I had to quit. I told her smokin’ weren’t any worse than the trash air I was breathin’ all day long.
She weren’t havin’ none of it.
I had to quit smokin’. So I did. It weren’t easy and it took me a good while, I mean hell, what was I supposed to do all day with ma wanderin’ mind, sittin’ in the cab of ma dozer all by maself.
Ya know what helped me quit?
That damn first iPhone I found. That thing changed ma life.
I tell ya what, people throw away all kinds of shit, pardon ma french. There’s all the usual stuff, ya know, typical garbage, food and just trash. But they also throw things they’d never want no one to know about. Toys and sexy underwear ya’d only use in the privacy of yer home, if ya know what I mean. Bibles, ya wouldn’t believe the number of bibles I saw once I started payin’ attention.
I never noticed any of these things until I quit smokin’. I was constantly watchin’ what I was pushin’ ‘round with ma dozer. It was fascinatin’.
Then one day, I spotted what looked like a perfectly good iPhone sittin’ on top of a pile of trash. The screen weren’t broken and it was pretty clean for just bein’ dumped out of the back of a truck. So I stopped ma dozer and jumped out to grab it. That’s technically against the rules but there weren’t no one around to run me over in their dozer or report me, so I figured why not.
So I grab it. Up close it still looked like it was in great shape. I wiped off whatever mess it had gotten in transport and climbed back in the cab of ma dozer and went back to work.
I ain’t nothin’ but a country boy redneck, I didn’t know much about fixin’ phones or nothin’ like that. So I YouTubed how to get it workin’ again. I figured it was a long shot but I’d try to fix it up to give to ma wife, God Bless her, as a gift.
Well, long story short that phone was dead but I did come across a video talkin’ about how valuable the innards of a phone are.
There’s a lot of gold in ‘em things!
So, I popped open that phone and took it apart. I started typin’ in the numbers printed on the little components into the Google Machine and hell ya could sell a lot of those little doohickeys for cash and people’d buy up as many as ya could get yer hand on. They wanted tons of ‘em.
The next day I was on the hunt. I grabbed up every electronic device I could find. I tried to keep ma dozer separate from the other guys so I could jump out and not be seen breakin’ the rules or get run’d over.
And ya wouldn’t believe it!
People’d spend all that money on somethin’ and just toss it in the trash. That first day I took home laptops, phones, stereo equipment. Everythin’ I could fit in the cab of ma dozer got picked up. I still can't believe that I hadn't see all of this stuff before.
Workin’ in a landfill has the benefit of work never comin’ home to the family, except for the smell, occasionally. So ma wife, God Bless her, was not very happy when I showed up that evenin’ with a truck full of trash. The trash was supposed to go to the dump and stay there she told me. I said I know, I know but ya won't have to seen none of this never again. I took it all out to ma back shed where I like to tinker with stuff. I got to work breakin’ it all down and sortin’ all the pieces.
Accordin’ to the Google Machine I’d struck it rich. All the stuff I couldn't sell I’d take back and dump it.
After a week, I had enough to sell and off it went. And I tell ya what! I got two weeks wages off a week of searchin’ and tinkerin’. I’s so damn excited I grabbed up ma wife, God Bless her, and we went out to a fancy dinner date at the Red Lobsters, she really loves their coleslaw and I can’t get enough of those little biscuits. She celebrated with a glass of fancy sweet wine and I had me a Budweiser.
I thought to maself, I could really get used to this, sellin’ trash and eatin’ fancy dinners.
I got to be pretty good at findin’ stuff. I’s seein’ it everywhere. I’d come home with more and more little devices, so much that I got ma wife, God Bless her, helpin’ me. And soon enough ma kids were in the back shed breakin’ things apart, sortin’ little doohickeys. We had us a family business goin’.
It got to the point at work, I’s jumpin’ out of ma dozer to snatch stuff more than I was doin’ ma job. The bosses didn’t like that much so I had to work out a better system.
I’d get to work before dawn and search around with a flashlight ‘til ma shift started. Then I’d work ma regular job, occasionally jumpin’ down to grab somethin’ too good to pass up. Then when ma shift was over I’d search ‘til a little after dark and take ma haul home. Ma wife, God Bless her, and kids would work on breakin’ everythin’ down.
And wouldn’t ya know it! With this new system I started bringin’ home even more stuff, and had to hire a high school kid to come over to the shed in the afternoons to help out.
We was findin’ and sellin’ off mountains of gold and other fancy metals.
At the time I was only grabbin’ the small stuff that’d pack the biggest punch. I could’ve gathered up all the metals like warshin’ machines and the like, and sold to em to recyclers but it was a lot of work to load most of it in ma truck and the payoff was less.
When I’d get to tired breakin’ things down, I’d go to the Google Machine some more and try findin’ other ways to make a buck off the gold mine I went to every day. In ma searches I came across a lady who’s wantin’ to buy up old landfills, dig up all the trash to run through this incinerator contraption and resell the land that used to be a dump for new development. She’s already a Gazillionaire at the time and was gettin’ close to startin’ a project.
I thought to maself, I know how to bury trash, I’m sure I could dig it up too, and I could find all the recyclin’ to sell. Maybe I could turn this into a thing.
So I told ma wife, God Bless her, all about ma plan and how’d it be a risk and what all I’d have to do to get started and she said “OK! Let’s do it!” I did promise her more fancy dinners at the Longhorns or the Red Lobsters if it worked out.
I sent that gazillionaire an email with ma ideas and what I’d already been doin’. And she wrote me back with an even better idea! We were off to the races.
Now I’m just an old redneck that drives a bulldozer around so Ms. Gazillionaire took care of all the government regulations and hired the educated environmental types. There was a lot of that sort of stuff to be done.
When the rubber hit the road I was in charge and boy was that fun! I was still down in the dirt every day diggin’. I had to follow all the rules about dealin’ with Methane such and such, but we was really gettin’ after it.
That first dump took us 5 years, and we learned a lot. Ms. Gazillionaire made boohoos of money, but so did me and ma crew I’d put together. I weren’t quite the gazillionaire as she was but I sure as hell weren’t hurtin’.
She asked me if I'd do more projects with her and I said “Shoot yeah I will” and here we are twenty some odd years later and I'm tellin’ ma story to the President of the United States. We've now done somethin’ like 70 landfills but ya already know that. I think that's probably why ya brought us here to have dinner with ya and that fancy environmental award ya gave us. But I've rambled on for too long now. Ma wife, God bless her, she says I just ramble and ramble sometimes.
Oh and one more thing, bein’ the first ever landfill miner weren’t a glamorous job, but it did get us a fancy dinner at the White House…. and, I did promise fancy dinners for ma wife, God Bless her.