Share on Facebook

14 Craziest Things Garbage Collectors Have Found in the Trash

As the saying goes, "One man's trash is another man's treasure." Check to see which insane garbage can finds make your trash or treasure lists.

ashesshutterstock (2)

Ashes of the deceased

“One time we found a guy’s ashes in one of the standard plastic tubs funeral homes usually give out. His information was still on the side. Our management contacted his family using the information that was written on the side of his plastic tub. But the family said they threw the poor man out on purpose.” Think dumping your loved one’s ashes in the trash is nuts? Check out these 10 crazy things people have actually shipped in the mail.

photo albumshutterstock (2)

A photo album stabbed with a knife

“As a student, I worked at a landfill ‘directing traffic’ one summer. A customer came and wanted to bury something and asked me to dig him a hole. He drove an all black Cadillac with tinted windows and nice rims. But the machine operator didn’t want to switch machines to dig a hole, so he offered the animal pit instead. I watched as the mysterious man threw out a book. Once he drove off, I peered into the animal pit, only to find a photo album with a knife lodged right in the middle. It still gives me the creeps!”

ratshutterstock (2)

Dead rats

“One day, my partner and I were called to a location that was outside our regular route one day. We met our supervisor at the location and he asked us to look up at the tree we were standing near. I look up and see a huge mass hanging in the tree about 20 feet off the ground. The police and fire department showed up about five minutes later. A firefighter climbed up a ladder to cut the bag down from a branch. As the bag hit the ground, it released a putrid smell. The mysterious mass ended up being a huge pile of at least 50-75 dead rats tied together. The police suggested it might be a form of ritual sacrifice. My partner and I had the ‘pleasure’ of tossing the bag into our truck. I’ve been working for the sanitation department for 14 years and that had to be the nastiest thing I have ever seen. I’ll never forget the smell.” Aside from hanging a bag of dead rats in a tree, here are the 15 most ridiculous requests that shoppers have made in stores.

weaponshutterstock (2)


“I work for a junk removal company. One time, we took out some old furniture, including a large desk from this guy’s house. Once we were finished and drove to the transfer station. As we dumped our load, the desk came sliding out and hit the concrete. It broke apart and lo behold, a .357 Magnum revolver comes tumbling out.”

veteran grave markershutterstock (2)

Veteran Grave Markers

“I found a bunch of brass World War I and World War II grave marker medallions in the recycle bins and reported them to the police. Hopefully, they went back to where they belonged.” Here are 12 of the most bizarre things homeowners have found in their backyards.

beagle puppiesshutterstock (2)

A puppy litter

“I was a garbage man while I attended community college and found a litter of puppies in someone’s garbage. I grabbed the garbage bag as I normally would and tossed it in the back of the truck. A few moments later, I heard a soft crying coming from the back of the truck that freaked me out. I ripped through a bunch of bags until I found five beagle puppies covered in something awful and crying. After gaining my composure, I found a big plastic bowl, filled it with newspaper, and placed all the puppies in there and called the cops. I provided my statement and showed up to a court hearing for the owner of the puppies. He threw them out because he believed they were all stillborn. Unfortunately, the puppies didn’t survive.”

peopleshutterstock (2)


“It’s fairly frequent that we have homeless people mistakenly fall asleep inside a dumpster and delivered to a landfill or other processing facility.”  – Kelly Sarber, President & CEO of Strategic Management Group. Trash cans aren’t the only places where creepy things are lurking, your home is too! These are the 14 creepiest things that people found in their homes.

sketchbookshutterstock (2)

Famous cartoon drafts

“One time my co-worker and I were hauling garbage from a Hollywood back lot where we typically found a lot of gently-used props, but that day I found some animation cels [transparent sheets that can be drawn on and used for cartoon productions] of Woody Woodpecker and Buzz Buzzard. Since I’m an artist in my spare time, I grabbed these right up! Finders keepers, right?”

limbsshutterstock (2)

Body parts

“I worked at a medical waste factory where we would find amputated body parts and bins full of blood and used needles.” Crazy and creepy things aren’t just limited to garbage cans, check out these crazy things people have seen in hotel rooms

cashshutterstock (2)

Cold hard cash

“I found $4,000 worth of cash in a cereal box once. Local gypsies had been cleaning out their caravan and threw out the box of cash by mistake. We managed to find the box and rightfully return them their money.”

diamond ringshutterstock (2)

Diamond Rings

“We had a woman in New York City mistakenly toss her diamond ring into the trash. She then paid to have one of the massive barges that took waste from Manhattan to Fresh Kills landfill pulled out of service so the garbage collectors could dig through the thousands of tons of trash until they found it. Thankfully, they did!” —Kelly Sarber, President & CEO of Strategic Management Group

racoonshutterstock (2)


“My favorite thing about emptying people’s trash is the ‘Raccoon Surprise’! You open the top of a can and stick your hand in to grab the bag, but instead grab a raccoon or two. I’ve saved a few of those cute little creatures.” If a raccoon hiding in your trash can gives you the heebie-jeebies, don’t miss these exterminator nightmares that will make you cringe.

tvshutterstock (2)

Brand new electronics

“My friend’s dad was a garbage man. He would drive around to all the businesses like Walmart, Best Buy, etc., to pick up the big dumpsters outback every evening. He always found the coolest stuff thrown away! Mostly electronics like televisions and laptops. His dad would sell most of the stuff he found on Ebay. My friend had a Sony Dream System [an entertainment system set with speakers and a DVD/CD player] in his room that his dad found in the garbage.”

biohazardshutterstock (2)

Hospital biohazard waste

“I ran a large trash hauling company in Georgia for three years. I can’t tell you how many times hospitals threw their bio waste out to save on disposal fees. It got so bad the landfill ended up reporting them.”  Next, check out 12 of the strangest things found during home inspections.

[Sources: Reddit: Most Illegal Thing Found in Trash, Reddit: Sketchiest Things Found in Trash, Reddit: Craziest Thing Found in Trash]

Ashley Lewis
Ashley is an Assistant Editor at Reader’s Digest. She received her Master’s Degree from CUNY Graduate School of Journalism in 2015. Before joining Reader’s Digest, she was a Jason Sheftell Fellow at the New York Daily News and interned at Seventeen and FOX News. When Ashley is not diligently fact-checking the magazine or writing for, she enjoys cooking (butternut squash pizza is her signature dish), binge-watching teen rom-coms on Netflix that she’s way too old for, and hiking (and falling down) mountains.

Newsletter Unit

CMU Unit

Subscribe & SAVE Save Up To 84%!