Mongo Hunting Is the New Freecycling

Here at Grist we’re big fans of freecycling, the goods-exchange system sweeping the U.S. (or, well, at least some rarified pockets therein). Author Ted Botha, however, is taking it to a whole ‘nother level, as the kids say. He set out to furnish his New York City apartment using only “mongo,” his slang term for stuff found on and retrieved from the street. Yes: Trash. His attempts brought him in contact with an entire subculture of mongo aficionados, documented in his new book “Mongo: Adventures in Trash.” He met a guy who scours rich neighborhoods for rare books, a fellow who collected enough scrap from construction sites to build an entire house, and a woman who boots up discarded computers to learn about the lives of strangers — not to mention folks who live off bottle and can deposits. While Grist cannot formally endorse the practice of prowling city streets collecting trash, we’re perversely fascinated by it, so if you give it a whirl, write and tell us about it.