ARTS & CULTURE

'Treasures In The Trash Museum' Highlights 30 Years Of NYC Garbage

This place sure doesn't "stink."

03/28/2016 03:35 pm ET | Updated Mar 29, 2016

Where you see trash, Nelson Molina sees treasure. 

A recently retired NYC sanitation worker, Molina started plucking collectible items from the trash some 30 years ago.

His collection now takes up an entire warehouse floor in East Harlem, where everything -- three decades of NYC trash! -- is perfectly sorted on tables, from Furbies to old family photos to vintage war uniforms, typewriters and more.

DON EMMERT via Getty Images
DON EMMERT via Getty Images
DON EMMERT via Getty Images
DON EMMERT via Getty Images
Michael Anton/NYC Dept. of Sanitation

Sanitation workers aren't allowed to bring items home, so Molina started "The Treasures in the Trash Museum" from his office locker room in 1981, the New York Post reports. 

The collection now includes tens of thousands of items, said Belinda Mager, assistant director of public affairs for the NYC Department of Sanitation.

One of Molina's favorite finds is a plaque from the original World Trade Center, he told The Guardian in a video interview. The museum also has a Christmas corner featuring thrown-out holiday decorations, where Molina plays a Christmas CD (also found in the trash) for giddy visitors.

"There are amazing things that people throw out, that people just don’t want," he told The Guardian.

DON EMMERT via Getty Images
DON EMMERT via Getty Images
Michael Anton/NYC Dept. of Sanitation
Michael Anton/NYC Dept. of Sanitation

The trash museum isn't open to the public, but you can schedule a visit by emailing the NYC Department of Sanitation at tours@dsny.nyc.gov.

Who knows ... you may just find a piece of your own trash, now living as a treasure. 

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