The Hippo


Jul 19, 2019








How to get rid of a treadmill

In an attempt to learn more about this process and a thinly veiled attempt to help my editor, Meghan Siegler, get rid of her own junk, I asked Heimsath about a treadmill sitting in her basement.
Heimsath estimated it would cost $50 to $80 to remove a single treadmill from a home depending on its location. But the most cost-effective junk-removal operations take more than a single item per trip. 
If the treadmill is deemed too difficult to try selling, they may scrap it and recycle the metal.
“Last year we recycled 750,000 pounds of metal. That’s a lot of metal. We don’t have to pay to recycle metal, we actually get paid,” Heimsath said.
But if it can be sold, Heimsath says the fair market value of a working treadmill is between $75 and $150. Assuming they go with the low-end estimate, Heimsath thinks it could reduce the removal fee to as low as $35 to $40.

Trash to Cash: Large Equiptment

By Ryan Lessard

 We’ve all got an old lawnmower or a piece of exercise equipment that’s been collecting dust. They’ve been replaced by newer, better things, and they might even still work. Throwing them in the dump just seems wrong but finding a buyer can be difficult. Sometimes, you might find that you actually have to pay to remove bulky, unwanted items, especially if they’re no longer operable.

Is it valuable? Reselling old lawn or exercise equipment isn’t always easy, and if you try, you aren’t likely to make as much as you spent to buy it when it was new. Unlike collectibles, large equipment tends to depreciate in value over time. But, if you’re lucky, people may want your old riding lawnmower for its parts and pay you for it. 
How to sell it: Start with an Internet search and check with local mechanics who work on these kinds of machines to see what they would buy it for. 
You can try selling it on Craigslist, but be honest about its condition. If the fan on your four-year-old treadmill doesn’t work, say so. If the motor doesn’t work, say so — someone might still want it for parts if the price is right. 
If all else fails, try a yard sale. You can turn to Craigslist again, or any social media, to advertise the sale and list some of your larger items so that people in the market for exercise or lawn equipment know to hit up your yard sale.
How to junk, donate or upcycle it: Steven Heimsath remembers prior to 2009 when he struggled to find a way to unload his large junk. He says there just weren’t any junk-removal companies in the area. 
“Back in the old days you could just throw this stuff out on the curb and the garbage man would come by and throw it in the truck with the compactor. … It’s not really like that anymore because of the rules and regulations,” Heimsath said.
Seeing the demand, he started Trash Can Willys Junk Removal based in Londonderry.
“We do things a little differently than most other junk-removal companies,” Heimsath said. “Other junk-removal companies will come in, offer a price, take everything to the dump, dump it and that’s the end of it. We go a little bit beyond that.”
He says his operation is part junk removal and part Junk Gypsies, the HGTV show about repurposing found items to decorate and furnish homes.
“A lot of stuff can be reused, recycled, upcycled,” Heimsath said. “Anything that’s made of real wood we’ll put into the woodshop to see if we can make anything creatively with it.”
The upcycling done by Trash Can Willys is primarily with wooden objects, like turning old pianos into tables or upscale conversation pieces. 
Heimsath says they pick up anything except hazardous materials and liquid paints. He has a fleet of four trucks and a staff of professional carriers who can lift large riding mowers or that old unwieldy butterfly machine you used to beef up your pectoral muscles back in the day.
And unlike most other junk-removal companies, Heimsath said, they will deduct 50 percent of the fair market value of any saleable items they remove from the removal fee.
“There’s been situations where … there was such value in the items they wanted us to take away that we were actually giving them cash and taking it away,” Heimsath said.
Heimsath says they remove and sell the pumps from old hot tubs, so they can even find value in those. 
Heimsath says Trash Can Willys also delivers items to be donated if the client requests it.
“The Salvation Army is very picky about what they’ll pick up but not so picky when you’re bringing it to them and dropping it off,” Heimsath said.
Able-bodied folks who can easily carry large items and perhaps have a pickup truck to transport them can deposit their unwanted equipment at local charities or dumps, but Heimsath says each town’s transfer station has its own hours and its own rules about what items it will take. 
Another option, if you don’t want to pay a service to get rid of your stuff and don’t want to lug it somewhere yourself, is to put your item up on It’s sort of like Craigslist, but everything is free, and most people who list items for free require that those items be picked up. Craigslist also has a “curb alert” in its “free” section where people can list items they’ve just left at the end of their driveway, free for the taking to whoever gets there first.

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