Along with the trash (mostly paper and plastic), we always find a few treasures, tidbits and oddities.

Below are samples from the most recent litter pickups.I have been cataloguing these finds since 2008.

If you want to see even MORE of them, click here for another page of photos.

Want to see what's in a bag of trash? What's in the bags of recyclables?

December 2017

A sweet party dress for a young girl. Stil had the tag on it. It was the nicest of the many pieces of clothing we found where there had been a six-car pileup earlier in the month. Several more pieces we washed and will donate.     Now that Botts' Dots are being phased out, I have started saving them. We find 2-3 a month. We have found 12 in the last four months. The one in front has only two small nicks in it.


We found so many odd items along with the debris from the accident - makeup, clothing, CDs, household items, books, toys. Why do these items get left behind after an accident?
Above are the "Before" and "After" photos of the area where there had been a six-car pileup earlier in December. Shrubs were wiped out when cars plowed through them and on up the slope. So much debris! That white dot in the middle of the second photo is actually three bags full of trash, plus a pile of car parts.
That's a pair of shorts stuck in what's left of a shrub hit by one of the cars in that accident. How did they get up there?     More of the clothing found at the scene of the car crash.
A Le Donne distressed leather backpack. Empty, of course. A similar one sells on line for $155+. This was NOT found at the site of the car crash.   Three computer mice and a cell phone charger, found in the same area as the backpack.
A tiny, green one-eyed Monsters Inc toy.   An unbroken mug from Bay 101 casino.

An oven mitt and a knife (not found in the same location).   A baggie full of popped popcorn (I put it in our compost pile).
Three vodka bottles, all found within a few yards on the same on-ramp. Does someone already drunk toss them out before hitting the freeway? Does someone sit on the side of the on-ramp and get drunk?   A pair of fuzzy red dice. They are about the size of baseballs.
Dark blue glass jars, empty. They once held an assortment of marijuana products. The labels are too faded to read in this photo, but two were Sweet Relief, two were Nepalese Kush, and one was Country Cannibis,

November 2017

That's a $100 bill, folks! It is the **ninth** we have found since 2005. It was on the off-ramp just past the Meridian over-crossing. It paid for lunch for our volunteers.   Now that Botts' Dots are being phased out, I have started saving them. We find 2-3 a month.  


Dino and Barney. They were dirty and had split seams, but they cleaned up nicely.   A toy snake?  
This bowl cleaned up beautifully. We donated it.   This blanket was also filty but came out clean. We donated it.  
A toy A hub cap from a Jaguar   A single tiny shoe  


The $100 bill is real. We thought the $20 was real too, just really dirty. Turned out to be a fake - darn!


October 2017

A Dora-The-Explorer light-weight quilt. We found a bottom sheet that went with it. Both will be laundered and donated.   A green purse (empty). Crista kept it.   A Games of Runes
An adorable teddy! Crista will give this sweetie a new home.   A safe. We couldn't open it, or even move it! I've reported it to the CHP and hope they can do something with it.   A paperback book in good condition. We will put it in our Little Free Library.

A suitcase that, alas, did not contain bundles of unmarked bills. We found just a couple of pairs of men's socks.   A IBM Thinkpad case, in pretty good condition. We will donate it.   A packaging for a dildo -- woohoo!

We usually find lots of these little wine bottles and their cardboard containers on the 280 SB off-ramp to Meridian Avenue. Some group apparently likes to hang out and get drunk on this off-ramp. This time, however, we found five cardboard containers but only 10 little bottles.

Then we noticed that we were finding the bottles in and around a dump site. Somebody who had been doing some remodeling decided it was too much trouble or too expensive to take their truck load of broken tile, sheetrock, wood, etc. to the dump, so they backed the truck onto the shoulder of the off-ramp and unloaded the mess you see on the right. We're guessing that under all that debris there are more of the little wine bottles.



September 2017

A dozen packages of Easter Grass   A pair of flipflops   An unopened 5-ounce can of V-8  
Two junior badminton rackets   Two license plates   A broken rake that had been repaired by attaching a branch to the end with a piece of rubber hose.    



Some of the paper that was scattered over 50 yards of the San Jose City College off-ramp. It turned out to be May 2017 registration paperwork for American Youth Soccer Organization players, referrees, anc coaches -- from Southern California. I wish someone could explain to me how this wound up hundreds of miles away trashing our local highways!

A squeegee in good condition.          

An adorable stuffed puppy. Fresh off the road, it was very dirty and full of burrs and grass and foxtails. Two trips through the washing machine and it's so cute!




A homeless camp's dumping ground before and after. While we were cleaning up this mess, a man came out of the bushes and thanked us. It was mostly old clothing, plus some broken furniture and leftover food. The yellow stuff is the bags of Easter Grass (above).

In addition to filling that cardboard box in the foregrounds, the three of us filled three bags in about 20 minutes.


What's that? It's a Kinder Egg. This one contained a teensy Barbie, plus instructions for assembling the three tiny parts - torso, legs and stand.

Most amazing was the warning tag that said "Warning, read and keep: Toy not suitable for children under 3 years. Small parts might be swallowed or inhaled." --- in 35 languages, including Arabic, Czech, Danish, Hungarian, Latvian, Turkish, and Greek.

One of the two sides of the warning label.    

August 2017

  A double-bed-sized quilt in good condition other than being dirty. The road dirt came out in the wash and it looks great. We will add to the extra blankets in our guest room.   Empty bottles that contained pool/spa chemicals. We found all six of them within 40 yards of one another.   A nice welcome mat.
  You miss the "awwww" factor on this photo. It's for a small child, probably a two-year-old.   More men behaving badly. Two bottles full of pee. If you cannot stop and pee, could you just keep the bottle in the car until you get to your destination and get rid of it there?   Miscellaneous metal objects. A spoon that gave new meaning to the word "flatware" (it was REALLY flat!), a 49ers belt buckle and a clamp that, despite the bent handle, works just fine.
  A SIMS-3 CD in the case.   Two balls, still inflated.    

July 2017

  A few of the paperback books for young people that we recovered. They are in good enough condition that we will put them in the Little Free Library in front of our home.   Alas - only half of a five-dollar bill   A fluffy pink keychain dangle
  .A pair of kid's jeans in good condition.   One of two antenna flags we found.   A single page from a photo album showing an attractive young woman.
  .Another clock! Two clocks in two months and no clocks in the prior 12 years. What are the odds?   It seemed like we recovered a hundred yards of this broken, twisted, useless white aluminum weather stripping that was spread out along a 1/4-mile stretch of 280.   Charlie recovered a painter's ladder in good condition ($45 at Home Depot). He plans to give it to a contractor friend.
  A knit cap in perfect condition   Drugs and syringes in a baggie.   Now that we don't have plastic bags to throw away, they throw away the cloth ones.
  A bottle of salad dressing   A horseshoe - the first we have ever found!    
Can someone explain to me why people throw their garbage over a high chain link fence, where everyone passing by can see it, but you cannot easily scale the fence to clean up the mess?

June 2017

*Both* front and rear license plates. We usually find one or the other. We'll turn them in to the DMV.   Diana's Mexican flag - appropriate for a Spanish teacher to find.   Diana found a $2 bill and a $1 bill. I also found a $2 about 50 yards from hers. It's unusual to find $2 bills in the first place, but two bills in the same area -- what are the chances?
An Ikea pillow, still in the plastic bag.   A cozy next of empty coffee pods tucked into the dry grass on the hillside by the Meridian off-ramp.   An unused decal. The Appomatox River Company is in Virginia.
Men behaving badly: Another bottle full of pee.   A plum tree full of plums. They are still too hard to eat, but I'm tempted to assign myself to this section next month and see if they are edible.


  Scroll down to the April photos and you'll see the mini-bottles of wine. This month, in the same location, we found four empty cartons and 12 empty bottles scattered in the same location. I stil have to ask - who goes out on a freeway interchange to drink?
A large clock. All it needed was cleaning and a new battery.   Not a real bill. It's the wrong color and laminated. Got Jerry's attention, though!




May 2017

Those are 20 plastic cones and some plastic fencing used for small-scale soccer games.    And the nets and cones organized and ready to go to charity.
A full can of juice.      A tiny toy elephone with magnets in the feet.      A bank statement from 1989 for the Bank of California which merged with Union Bank in 1996.
A sand dollar!   These looked like Christmas tree ornaments.   A lock WITH the key! We often find keys and locks separately, but never together and therefore useful.
A toy car.   A interesting, tiny photo frame - (4"x5") designed to hold two portraits.   That's Pam with her $20 bill and Charlie with his $100 bill!
A tiny stuffed toy - missing an arm. We have a collection of these little guys that are missing an eye or a foot or an arm...   A tiny cloth gift bag.

  John brought his two girls to help with the street clean-up. They are waaay to young to be allowed on the freeway, but the three of them filled bags with trash as well as cleaning up the treacherous 'dingle ball' seed pods that drop from the Liquid Amber trees in that area.



On the right:


photos of the same stretch of Moorpark. I wish San Jose City College would send over one of their maintenance people once in a while. This is a de facto parking lot for the campus and it is always a mess!


April 2017

An Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) officer's badge. We have contacted the local office to see if we need to return it.    A silly yellow ball. Our cats love it!    Three $10 gifts cards from St. Vincent de Paul for groceries. We will mail them back.
A slice of 7-11 pepperoni pizza. The box was nearby.   Nine four-pack cartons that held Gallo Chardonnay   17 of the empties from the cartons. Who goes out onto a freeway interchange to party?
    A unopened jar of "Squash Blossom" air freshner   Oh, the irony. A slip of paper announcing School Beautification Day, when participants would be picking up litter around their school.
A PlayStation game -- CD inside.   A bottle of strawberry flavored warming massage lotion - woo-hoo! Not found anywhere near the empty Gallo bottles and pizza.   A tiny glass Grey Goose vodka bottle (penny shows relative size).


We actually don't know what this is. It's made of a medium-stiff plastic - flexible, but not easily torn.

5/15/17: Someone noticed this photo and comment and took the time to tell me what this was:

"It looks like a high-voltage insulator:"

Thanks, Roland!




March 2017

Most of our crew (one member had left and one was taking the photo) at The Alameda with the 10 bags we filled. Kelly is in front with her foot on the roll of building material that she said had "mocked me for months" by the side of the on-ramp that she takes to work every day. It won't be there to mock her any longer!

A teensy figurine (see the penny next to it). It's amazing that Sabine even saw it with all the litter around it.    A sun hat in great condition. And I need a new one!
A few of the many hundreds of business cards (along with the box they came in).   Two photo keychain souvenirs. There is a teensy photograph inside the white lid and, if you look through the lens on the other end, you see the photo magnified. These were distributed by Walden West Outdoor School to some of their students.

Beautiful blue glass bottles. There is evidently a big Blue Solar Bottle craze that claims oodles of health benefits from putting water in blue glass bottles out in the sun for a few hours and then drinking the water. Interesting websites here and here. According to one site: "The blue glass and UV light will change the vibration of the water and clear your 5th chakra, the one associated with your throat." Who knew!? These bottles sell for $8.95 for a 16 oz bottle (a case of 12 is $67.80)! You can also use them if you home brew your own beer. And we found them, unbroken, on the highway!

A clearly
$100 bill.


I was mystified by the number of these Arrowhead water jugs we found. We typically find 5-6 similar jugs on a morning pick-up. This time we collected 26 of them!   See the close up of the jugs? Almost all of them had a number (54B, 56B, 59A) and a date in October or November of 2016. More mysteries!


This was Crista's really hilarious find. It was a Peppermint Bark box with $1.78 in change, a small statue of a donkey, and a child's letter to Santa. Below is a close-up of the letter.

At left is Toby's addendum to his letter!

  And the tiny statue of a donkey, probably from a Christmas creche, that was in the Peppermint Bark box.

February 2017

A jar of Marie's Cream Caesar salad dressing, opened, but very little used.    A Disney character doll?    A silicone mold for making a teddy bear cake
A green polka dot bow tie   A yellow Chevy Camaro toy car   A soup mug (one small chip)
A power strip   A Spider Man toy    



January 2017 (no pickup - we were rained out!)


I have been cataloguing these finds since 2008. If you want to see even MORE of them....

Photos from 2016   Photos from 2015     Photos from 2014      Photos from 2013      Photos from 2008-2012     

For even MORE photos click here