First In, Best Trashed- In Praise Of Neighbourly Recycling

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First In, Best Trashed- In Praise Of Neighbourly Recycling

Category : Business

There’s always a jewel among the junk at the hard rubbish pick-up. But she who hesitates will be empty-handed.

ONE person’s garbage is another’s treasure and if it’s treasure to you, the hard rubbish removal Eastern Suburbs is heaven on a nature strip. Some people can’t stand second-hand goods unless they are rare and expensive; some can’t bear anyone else having them either so stuff them in the bin. A strange and rather cruel attitude.

The legality of removing someone else’s hard rubbish resides within a variety of council by laws that depend on catching someone in the act. WM Waste Management (king of Melbourne’s garbage removal Sydney) told me no one minds anyone picking up a bicycle or a bedstead, or even lads with a trailer stacked with fridges and washing machines (one tonne is $170 as scrap metal).

There is another kind of scavenger, a big operation involving men with huge trailers whose livelihood is pulling metal out of hard rubbish all year round. They turn up before dawn and make a hell of a lot of noise, as they are always in a terrific hurry. Then they don’t tie down their loads properly. They carve a chunk from the contractor’s profit, thus threatening the cost of services to residents, but cowboys like these operate in every city of the world because “where there’s muck there’s brass”.

Dense communities with no storage space (Japan, New York) dump great stuff on the streets and every day is hard rubbish day. My son has virtually furnished his Fitzroy place with hard rubbish and Carlton’s student population puts desks out on the streets every week. It’s a pleasure to see a woman firmly planted on a nice clean sofa waiting for someone to come and collect them. If you find something you have to snatch it straight away. Only last week I eyed a wonderful heavy old wheelbarrow, next day it was gone.

Obviously, these things go to good homes and to people who need them. Isn’t that a good thing? I consider it a compliment when someone takes something from my pile.

This year my local council, Greater Dandenong, adopted a policy successful in other councils (Manningham, Maribyrnong) of requiring residents to phone in and book their one free waste collection sydney for the year. Individually. Ratepayers were notified and notices placed in local papers. But Dandenong also has many tenants, and many who do not read the papers. The moment one lot of junk appeared the neighbours naturally thought: “Oh, look. Time for the hard rubbish.”

Some people don’t want a pile outside their own house. As I was leaving for the gym one day I spied an elderly woman wheeling a decrepit office chair loaded with junk and dumping it on my elderly neighbour’s nature strip. By the time I returned, the junk was back where it belonged. Round one to my neighbour.

WM Waste Management tells me it took 10 years before a CD player appeared in hard rubbish, but DVDs flew on to the pile. They know exactly which electrical appliances don’t last and a certain brand of water-heater is good for just 10 or 15 years. They rarely see a wall oven and have not seen even one claw-footed cast-iron bathtub.

Their world is filled with three-legged white plastic chairs. No one pinches those.

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