One Man Searched 20 Tons of Trash to Find His Wife's Lost Wedding Ring

A whole team of sanitation workers helped him recover the missing item.

Wedding ring

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When Kevin Butler tossed a napkin into the garbage on November 30, 2022, he didn’t realize that he had also thrown away a sentimental object. After cleaning her wedding ring, the New Hampshire man’s wife had wrapped her sparkler in the napkin to let it dry. It wasn’t until Butler had taken the trash to a local transfer station that he discovered the rock was missing. “She looked around for her rings,” Butler tells WMUR-TV. “I said, ‘I’ve got a good feeling they may be in the trash that I just took to the transfer station.'”

Immediately, he went to the station to recover the lost ring and explained the situation to Dennis Senibaldi, Windham’s general services director. “He said, ‘I’m pretty sure I threw the rings out,’” Senibaldi recounts. Senibaldi and his coworkers joined Butler in hunting down the ring. To pinpoint the best spot to dig through 20 tons of trash, they used surveillance footage of Butler’s trip to the transfer station, WMUR-TV reports. The crew then combed through the waste with an excavator. 

Butler recalled a key piece of information that helped him find the lost item. “One of the things he said was [inside of the trash] was celery stalks, and I could see a celery stalk sticking out the side of the bag,” Senibaldi recalls. They grabbed that bag from the pile and crossed their fingers that the wedding ring would be inside. “As we were going through the bag that we knew was his, he actually said, 'It's not in here,’” the transfer station supervisor notes. “And I said, 'No, there's a couple little pieces left.’ I had my rubber gloves on. I moved a few items out of the way and saw literally the very last napkin, and I opened it up."

After digging through tons of waste, Butler says he is so grateful to have retrieved the sentimental item. “Wouldn’t recommend anyone else do it, but you know, to get the ring back, I would do it a thousand times over,” he says. To thank the transfer station workers for their help, Butler treated them to pizza.

This isn’t the first time someone has accidentally thrown away a wedding ring. In September of 2022, Alexandra Stokal said she put five rings in a paper towel to dry after cleaning them, and her husband threw them away without knowing the pieces of jewelry were inside, according to UPI. Once she realized her rings were in the trash, Stokal contacted the Cape Breton Regional Municipality Solid Waste transfer in Nova Scotia. The sanitation workers then spent more than two hours sifting through a thousand trash bags until they found the garbage bag from Stokal’s home. "I'm very seldom at a loss for words, but when we found the rings, I was speechless," she said.

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