A shed full of roller skates, 400 wedding dresses, 18,000 sardine cans, a diffused bomb—1-800-GOT-JUNK? hauls away more than just trash in its custom-built dump trucks. The largest junk-hauling company in North America turned clutter into revenues of $150 million this year, says NPR, while professionalizing the industry and banishing the stereotypical image of a sloppy junk hauler in baggy pants.
The company, founded in 1989 and boasting 300 franchise outlets, sends employees to separate what can be recycled or donated from what must be thrown away, and clean up afterwards. The $10 per hour pay is coupled with permission to keep or sell their finds; one employee has furnished his house with “junk” like a leather couch and Magnavox TV.