One Man’s Trash is Another Man’s Treasure

“One Man’s Trash is Another Man’s Treasure”

Trash on a beach
photo by Arria Belli

Even in the most remote parts of the world, you will find other people’s garbage. In a survival situation, one man’s trash may be another man’s saving grace. In survival situations, you must utilize everything you find. Keep your eyes open, and make sure you don’t overlook something that could save your life.

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  1. I think I see a water bottle, obviously it can be used to carry water, but it can also be used for water purification…cut the top off, fill with water, get a fire going, place a stone in the fire small enough to fit inside the container, after the rock is hot enough place it inside the container of water and let it boil. Also can be fabricated to use as small fish / crawdad trap.

    • So a super hot rock can purify water? What does it exactly purify out of the water? How safe would it be to drink?

      • A rock will transfer heat to the water causing it to boil, boiling water kills bacteria. You can cook a stew using stones in a skin in a similar manner. Simple, common primitive skills.

        • Hi all,grat site,first time here.You can actually boil water in a plastic bottle,as long as the flame NEVER touch’s the bottle it will not melt,The water can only reach 212 deg. and will keep the plastic from melting.

          • JFYI, plastic bottles contain bisphenol A (BPA) which is released in large amounts especially when heated. Research has shown that BPA mimics estrogen, a naturally occurring hormone, and therefore can affect the body’s endocrine system.

    • Your rock idea isn’t going to work too well. The issue with it is how much energy it takes to boil water compared to how much energy the rock could hold. It’s been awhile since I was in Chemistry, but it took something like 4.2 joules of energy to raise one mililiter one degree C. This compared to I believe lead, which has a sub 1 joule to raise it 1degree C. In the experiment we heated the metal over a flame, dropped it into the water (much like you’re saying to do with a rock), and the water barely even changed temperature.

      Now sure some of the water evaporated. But this is because the metal transfered energy so fast that some of the water molecules boiled because they couldn’t transfer the energy that they were absorbing fast enough. Likewise if you try this with a rock you’re either going to be constantly removing and reheating the rock, or you’re not going to get the water to boil.

      Another issue would be that a standard water bottle (like the one pictured) is likely to deform due to that much heat. And the heat could cause issues with the plastic releasing various toxins into the water.

      Not to say one couldn’t find a use for the water bottle. Simply that I wouldn’t recommend trying to boil water in it.

      Another intersting thing we did in Chem was we got water to boil in I believe a paper cup (though it might have been styrofoam). This was done by using a bunson (sp?) burner to direct the flame to just the bottom, and the cup transfered heat to the water such that the cup didn’t burn up…until we let all of the water boil out that is.

    • I think that what ever you doing make sure before littering or throwing away trash see if u can recycle on what ever tosh away

  2. It really is amazing how much useful trash you can find even in the back country where you would never suspect to find anything.

    Every time I go hiking I am on the look out for stuff that could be used in a survival situation. I think training yourself to be on the look out for this stuff will help in a SHTF situation.

  3. I see plastic bottles (which have already been discussed); lots of smaller wood for firestarting; the large driftwood to be cleaned up and taken to camp … can use as a seat, table or break up for more firewood. Behind all that look at the plants to see what is edible and can be used later.
    Love all your comments!

  4. why cut the bottle? If you were to make a tripod over your fire then use some cordage to hang the bottle over the fire you can pasteurize the water.

    also whenever I go out on a hike i always take a drop-bag with me so i can collect any man-made its i find. it helps clean up the wilderness and you find useful items. although i do tend to burn any plastic items i find that i don’t see a use for so i don’t have to track them back out.

  5. I see sand to filter the water before you boil it!
    My brother was throwing out an old pot belly stove. With a new paint job and some new stove pipe it will have heated my home x2 winters this year.
    My neighbor was throwing out a 500 gal water tank that had a large crack in it. After some plastic welding it has become an excellent rain water catch system.
    Being a “pack rat” has it’s advantages!

  6. well if you try to boil water in a plastic bottle it will melt and if you add hot rocks to it you have to keep them from touching the plastic or it will melt but it will work if you do that as for junk i love junk i got my trailer free i get alot from junk fire wood and fencing are just a little bit of stuff free cycle is great i even get rope free from baling twine as well as thread to fix stuff even my pack animal was free he is my best work animal the cart i use was mostly free you get the point look around and see what you can find

  7. You can boil water inside of a bottle without the plastic melting. It will warp but it shouldn’t melt.

      • This is how I store my water at home. 2 liter bottles, sanitised of cource, Hot water to the brim and seal it up. Once it cools it creates it’s own vacume. They stack nice and you can put them anywhere.

  8. Watch Dual Survival on TV an ex army ranger and a natural survivalist both go out and try missions such as getting dropped off in the amazon etc, they do the dangle boiling method mentioned above and various other methods of water purification, the plastic does not melt. also they build shelters, weapons etc. pretty bad ass!

  9. You forget the obvious thing to do with the trash if you live near it. Pick it up leave only footprints. Otherwise people will wonder what other treasures you have if you are so careless to leave all that junk behind.

  10. in this photo i see the following.
    1. wood for building a fire.
    2. hard to do but 2 pieces of wood rub together for getting a fire started if u have a shoe string or rope.
    3. that big log might be used for a bed to get off the ground.
    4. plenty of wood to make a temp shelter.
    5. i also seen dual survivors with the water bottle hung over the fire.

  11. It looks like a soccer ball in the pic as well. Mr. Wilson to talk to? Sorry couldn’t keep from posting it. Love that movie. Tom Hanks is awesome! I am new to this page and love it.

  12. In boy scouts, we made hard boiled eggs in styrophome cups. We put them directly in the coals. The cup melted down to the water level but no ferther. A person could gather some eggs from bird nests, but the risk/reward and phisical injury possibility might not be worth it.

  13. Why not use the bottle to sanitize the water by solar radiation? Fill it with filtered water then sit it in the sun light to sanitize itself. Google it once you’ll see what I mean.

  14. we are all going to die. Survival is the fighting off of the inevitable death that will consume us all. Its better to learn to be a nice guy. Maybe God will take note of your kindness and reward you with more than mere survival.

    • first of all God does not reward us based on our deeds or being a “nice guy” or our kindess level. God has graceously given eternal life to his children based on his mercy alone. We will all die that is a given. The truth of the matter is that we are all going to live forever whether you like it or not, some of us are gonna end up Holy, some of us are gonna end up hot! The Bible talks about being prepared and survival is a means to continue to spread the word and truth of Christ until he returns to take his children home. If storing up food, water, supplies allows me to speak truth into one more persons life about our Heavenly Father then sign me up. Jesse I would love to have a conversation with you about a God that loves you and desires to know you. God bless!

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