Council cleanup

My local council holds a kerbside cleanup twice a year. You can put out 3 cubic metres of rubbish – old toys, furniture, white goods, appliances, bikes and carpet. You cannot put out general garbage, food waste, garden waste, building waste, glass, liquids (including paint) or car parts.

On my walks I am always amazed at what people dispose and the quantity of rubbish. What must the interior of their houses look like? Some residences have bags and bags of “stuff”. Why don’t they use the weekly rubbish collection? Where have they been storing all this stuff? And what is even in the bags?

Others ignore what the council says shouldn’t be put out – and as everything is collected anyway, I can see why the residents don’t bother following the rules and dispose of their own rubbish which the council says it won’t collect. All this is at a cost, born by all of us, whether we do the right thing or not.

I should say we also have a big wheely bin for garden waste and a big bin for recyclables, each collected on alternate weeks, in addition to our weekly general waste small wheely bin which is collected weekly. And you can drop off batteries at the council depot.

And why haven’t they thought of donating? I have seen a tonne of stuff that is new or like new that would easily sell in a charity shop. Things like pottery urns, a large framed picture, kitchen plasticware, wire baskets. Again, I saw all these things unmarked and like new. Some of the bags of clothes I have seen could, at the very least, be given to companies that turn the material into rags. Two of these companies have donation bins at our local shopping centre, a short car trip away.

The rubbish also seems to have fashion variations. For the last two years the item d’jour was the cathode-ray TV. There are not as many left out this time. No, today’s item is the mattress. I cannot believe how many are being left out around my suburb.

But what amazes me the most is the QUANTITY of household stuff – furniture and electronic goods. Most of it is obviously cheap goods from Asia that has only lasted a few years. Office chairs, TV stands, hall stands, lamps, lounges, side tables, plastic goods. The vast amount that some households put out tells a story. These families are buying heaps of cheap junk, more than 3 cubic metres. To put out so much stuff twice a year means they are buying so much stuff. A cycle of manufacturing that uses our world’s resources, and pollutes the world, in order for the purchaser to feel a momentary glimmer of satisfaction and then to discard the item to end up in land fill, causing further pollution. Pointless or what? I want to yell at them: stop buying this stuff.

I see some households who put out very little. These families tend to buy less, and save for better quality, more considered purchases. My immediate neighbours often only have one or two little items.

So with all this moral high ground, what am I disposing of?

A broken standing bubble lamp (the stand has already been scavenged by the people who drive around when cleanups are on), a 16 year old turn table (also scavenged), a 15 year old air popcorn maker, 2 very large cardboard boxes (too big for our recycling bin), an exercise thing (don’t know what I was thinking when I bought it off eBay 3 years ago), a rusting metal serving tray left by someone after a BBQ at our house and a bed base left in the garage by the previous owners 6 years ago. Last time I left two broken skateboards but scavenged an office chair, 2 wire baskets and a clothes rack on wheels. All my scavenged items are being used. A new lease of life for things destined to land fill – and saving money for me as I was going to buy all of them eventually.

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