Long before the Internet and eBay, the selling and reselling of used goods has been a popular way to recycle what we no longer wanted or needed. The prices of used goods are driven by how much someone else would pay for your discarded items. Sometimes, in the case of junk we have to pay people to haul it away and dispose of it.
So I pose the question, “How much will you pay for a used item you need?” What about if it was used more than once, twice or three times? Eventually if items are around long enough they can become an antique and can become even more valuable. So how much would you pay for something that has been around for a really, really, really long time and has changed hands countless times?
Of course the condition and handling of said item may affect the price. Say for instance the item had been stored in a septic tank or at the bottom of the sea, the price and certainly the condition might reflect in the price. Or say it tumbled down a mountain in free fall for a hundred feet or even fell from the sky for tens of thousands of feet, how much would you pay?
Unlike petroleum, of which we have a limited supply and can only be used once, water is a constant supply and is used over and over and over again. While the price of water is relatively cheap (compared to gas, milk and other liquids we purchase) when you consider how many times the same drop of water potentially has been sold and resold over the centuries it could be considered priceless.
“Why this curious blog”, you ask? I am cheap and don’t want to pay for what one day will be perfectly fine water to be hauled away. So if there are any interested buyers my septic tank needs to be pumped …or would that be classified as junk?
No worries, I am sure someone out there, some day, some where will eventually end up buying and drinking the water pumped from my septic tank. Maybe it will end up in a bottle of Dasani or Aquafina.
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P.S. Since I wrote this post there has been an update from @SmartPlanet (for Tweeps) about how sewage can be used to fuel our cars. This could come in handy on long trips and who knows maybe my septic sludge will end up in a Bentley.
P.P.S. Charles Fishman calls this the Yuck factor in “The Big Thirst”. Professor Haddad at the University of California, Santa Cruz goes into more detail on NPR.