Pete’s Pick-up; recycling for the future

By Page H. Gifford

“You see junk, we see possibilities,” is the motto for Pete’s Pick-up. Pete’s Pick-Up is not just a service picking up unwanted items and junk, they are redefining junk removal and the future of recycling. They are mission-driven, offering affordable pick-up with a purpose of ensuring sustainability through multifaceted recycling programs. Recovery is key to their mission. Owners of Pete’s Pick-up view it as “pick-up with a purpose,” while gathering items that are no longer wanted or needed, they recycle, reuse, or re-purpose.

Operations Manager, Jessica Brown, explains why Pete’s Pick-up is different. Associated with van der Linde Recycling, it was named after Pete van der Linde with recycling in mind. Each retrieved item undergoes a meticulous inspection to determine its final destination. Salvageable furniture goes to their furniture bank, ready for a second life in a new home for those in need. Anything beyond restoration goes to van der Linde Recycling.

“We were getting three calls a week for mattress pick-up. Many of these mattresses were in good condition it was just that their owners didn’t want them after 6 months,” said Brown. “Andrea saw a need and added furniture.” While working in the waste industry, the Johnsons were amazed at what people would throw away, useful and good items were being tossed into landfills.

“During a furniture bank tour in Richmond, van der Linde Recycling got the idea of how to help fill the gap between people who no longer needed an item and those in need.” At the time, Pete’s Pick-Up was already picking up mattresses, but adding other items like furniture, Pete’s Pick-Up began to grow

They pride themselves on handling these once-cherished items. They come in a box truck, not a dump truck, and move everything like movers. This careful attention to moving items ensures that they can reuse, re-purpose, and recycle as many items as possible. Their method reduces damage to items in both the transporting and unloading processes. “Our affiliation with a certified bulk item recycling facility guarantees this,” said Brown. “It is a strenuous process.”

They take residential and commercial junk, appliances (unhooked and without coolant), furniture, housewares and fixtures, musical instruments, outdoor furnishings, tools and equipment, clean and reusable medical equipment, and toys and sports equipment.

Pete’s Pick-up partners with area organizations throughout Fluvanna, Albemarle, Louisa, and Charlottesville to reach those in need; including Albemarle County Social Services, Pacem, Fluvanna-Louisa Housing Foundation, LM Fire and Rescue, Region 10, and more.

“Those needing household items or furniture must show proof of services through social services,” said Brown describing who can get access to the furniture bank. “We give vouchers for $25 regardless of what they need,” she said. “In a crisis, such as a fire, we waive the fee and they can get whatever they need for free. They can get vouchers from LMFR.” She adds because so much of what they do ends up being low-cost and charitable that the furniture bank operates at a loss. In the case of items that don’t move, such as a treadmill, she says they sell it or give it to the Fluvanna Free Swap and she says it is always gone.

Clothing is another item that concerns those interested in the planet, the environment, and sustainability. A new process of separating the cotton from the polyester and re-using these elements to make new clothing is already being done in Virginia. Van der Linde partners with Planet Aid on recycling clothing.

“We do education events, talking about the environment, recycling, and sustainability to draw awareness,” she said. “Before taking something to the landfill, drop it off at an appropriate recycling center such as Ivey or van der Linde for bulk construction materials, grocery stores take plastic bags and Black Bear Composting picks up your composting curbside. But we have noticed people are making an effort.”

For more information contact Pete’s Pick-up at or call 434-962-2003 or visit

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