Bring Out Your Dead! Council Recycling is a sight to behold!
Verges are strewn with unwanted Christmas presents and old toys. Meanwhile, the heritage of broken chairs and old mattresses needs no explanation. Cardboard boxes overflow with odds and sods of household items all “past their use by date”. Passers-by try not to look to obvious as they inspect the treasures that lie beside the road. Refrigerators, washing machines, and microwaves – of unknown viability – stand like tombstones amongst their discarded companions.
Many a university student has furnished a flat with verge “things”. Either partly or in full. Meagre student allowances, or part time pay packets, don’t stretch to furnishings. Topping up with recycled stuff is a matter of pride. We had a lovely fishpond at my house in Stoneville that Warren ‘recycled’ from a verge. It was in perfect condition and we raised many a happy tadpole in that pond. It was still a central part of my bog garden when we sold the house.
In America “fregans” practice a life style of living off food from dumpsters. They also trade or barter their skills for other goods and services as well as a little cash. But it is not as prevalent here in Australia. For those who are serious about recycling, the good stuff never hits the kerb. Freecycle.org we love you.
It’s a bit of a game, in truth.
It’s a bit of a game, in truth. You put out your stuff and wait to see what goes first. Which treasures do they paw, turn over, and not retrieve for recycling? Your old chest of drawers with the missing handles and a broken roller is no prize. It is likely to be completely ignored in favour of an IKEA bag with “who knows what” in it.
Toys are very popular. Commercial “recyclers” trawl the streets for electrical goods, seeking only the copper wiring.
The practice of cutting off electrical cords to get it means the waste of many a usable old beer fridge. Most charities do not accept electrical goods. Because of the cost of having them checked and certified as safe.
It’s rarely recognised that a TV that no longer works as a TV may be a recycled as a games console. A high definition TV from 2005 onwards with a CRT is good for gaming. The cathode ray tube (CRT) in an old-style TV, or computer monitor, may contain between four and eight pounds of lead. It is no surprise that many councils ban them from landfill recycling. Nor any wonder those little suckers are so heavy!
Urban myths abound about recycling.
Urban myths abound about who owns what, once you put your goods out on the verge, for a bulk waste pickup. In NSW, there is case law that the rubbish belongs to the council once it put out. Retrieving a kid’s bike that the former owner no longer wants can indeed be theft.
At one time, SA legislation dictated abandoned goods had to go to the police station. That would be something, would it not, during a council “bring out your dead”? In SA, there is case law that the goods belong to the person who put them out, until the council collects them. I believe that same case law is true in Victoria.
Allowing free access by scavengers to discarded household goods reduces the contractor’s value. They pay the council for the right to pick up everything, during a “bring out your dead”. If the contractors do not make what they expect out of recycling, they will pay the council less. The council may then face financial loss.
One thing is clear at law: if you have put it in a council rubbish bin, it is clear you have “abandoned your ownership”. It is then the property of the council.
Survivors of the great depression can find it distressing.
Survivors of the great depression can find the volume of goods thrown away distressing, as did my old Dad. It’s hard for them not to want to bring it home, in case you might want it one day.
Born in 1918, he was 93 for our last great “Bring out your dead” event, at our place in East Victoria Park. I found myself on the verge at 1:00am, with a torch, retrieving stuff my Dad had put out by mistake.
It was quite a change for him to be putting stuff out, instead of bringing it home.
Not long before this last great “Bring out your dead”, my amazing old Dad proved himself to be my hero. You can read about it here. Do You Have a Hero in your Family?