Home, Garden & Lifestyle Sustainability

Kick It To The Kerb

Depending on where you are on the Gold Coast (as in what Division), this is the time of the year when the words “kick it to the kerb” takes on a whole new meaning.

A few years ago during a council kerbside collection week in my district on one weekend many of my neighbours, and indeed myself, had a good de-clutter of those big items that are not always easy to be rid of during the rest of the year. As is often the case at these times I find myself watching the whole process with fascination.

The scavenger hunt starts in the very early hours, and the parade slowly increases throughout the morning. People in their utilities and cars with trailers slowly scan each pile. They’re a discerning bunch. Some will pass a few times before returning and committing. While others know exactly what they’re after and even come with the right “lifting equipment”. Some choose to rummage until something takes their fancy, while others who are more nervous about the concept will keep looking over their shoulders to see if the owner of the pile will object to them having an opportunistic moment.

One trailer went past with no less than eight washing machines on the back. Another was obviously after computer related trash while another seemed to have every kind of garden gadget, pot plant stand, and pots of varying size and colour,  yet another was after odd shapes of timber off-cuts and left over renovation materials. Another came complete with industrial strength gloves and wire cutters discerningly assessing electric goods and cables in the hope of stripping copper wire.

While I always manage to find something else to get rid of (and no I didn’t actually have the biggest pile in the street), in my garden shed (when we took it over) had been left an old green plastic outdoor setting and a small rusty gas barbecue. The garden setting took 20 minutes to disappear. The barbecue still remains, although someone took the iron cooking plate. Our microwave (which may I add had impeccable timing and died 2 weeks earlier) disappeared before I had time to add to the pile. One guy who walked past with his dog, allowed his dog to use my pile for what dogs do best, during which time his owner decided my old mop would be useful (and no, I don’t mean he used it for cleaning up what his best friend did to my pile).

What I truly found interesting however, was that we have had some heavy rainfall, and yet all the old computer monitors on the pile across the road from us, all of which had been subjected to the weather, had also gone. What on earth can a wet computer monitor be good for? Perhaps someone out there can solve this mystery for me? Unless of course they’re to be converted into creative fish bowls or mouse cages?

As I continued to watch the parade on and off through the day, I couldn’t help but wonder about the participants. Whether some of them actually go from one district collection to the next, regularly rummaging? The whole thing started to feel like a form of theatre, carnival or game. I kept catching myself peeping out from behind the shed to see what else had gone, and what else I could put on the pile to tempt people with.

I think it is wonderful that someone’s trash can become another person’s treasure and how these people manage to convert something that would probably have ended up in landfill into something of use again. I wondered how many of them were affiliated with charities and were just good Samaritans, and whether others were perhaps artists or sculptors looking for materials to recycle into wonderful pieces of art that the rest of us would later gaze upon in amazement, perhaps even to the extent where one of these articles would be purchased later for a phenomenal sum.

Unfortunately, I am more than sure that some of our participants were probably compulsive hoarders who just can’t resist the temptation. I am also sure that some of them would probably later regret their decision and find themselves needing someone like me to come and de-clutter them months or years from now when again some of these items will end up back in the carnival of the kerbside cleanup.

So tell me? Will you be participating in the carnival of the kerbside cleanup? and if so will  you be putting things on the kerb? or rummaging through? If you do plan to rummage, what sort of things do you look for and what are your plans for them?

Visit your local council website for dates on your next kerbside cleanup, and start planning!

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