Sunday, 17 April 2011

in mourning for the council clean-up

All my life there has been the ritual of the council clean-up. In earlier times it was every quarter, then as councils cut budgets, every six months everyone would put their old junk on the nature strip for collection during the week. The weekend before clean-up there would be a bit of a last minute clean out, sacrificial pruning of overgrown bushes and an endless parade of cars, vans and utes looking for scrap metal. The clean-up was a fantastic recycler, the kids once did all their "Christmas shopping" kerbside and for a while we had a great verandah sofa courtesy of some neighbour. The cot used by me and my siblings all those years ago was salvaged by a thrifty acquaintance of my parents and many times we put out small items of furniture or electrical goods only to have some forager almost take them from our hands. I have heard of gardeners coming across a coveted plant on someone else's rubbish, too.

About two years ago my local authority cancelled clean-ups. We can still phone to book rubbish removal but as it's no longer common to everybody the foragers dont know when or where to look. I have here a foam sofa/mattress thing that charities wont take because even though it's as new it's too similar to a mattress. Put on a clean-up it would be an absolute treasure. There's a rice cooker and who knows what else, all with no possibilty of a new home.

Today I saw a barbecue standing all lonely on the edge of the road with a sign saying "FREE. I work." The thing is, nobody takes anything with a "FREE" sign, do they?

I can't quite understand the economics of cancelling clean-ups, maybe the hope is we'll all hang onto our clutter until we have to pay for a skip and get it removed ourselves?

Anyhow, for myself and my community, I sure do miss them.


  1. We still have our council pick-ups but as you say every 6 mths. Whenever we are clearing out we say put it aside for hard rubbish day and then totally forget the item. The lady on the corner often puts things out every now and then and her goes. We tried a while back and nobody took it. Always the same vans circle the neighbourhood like sharks looking for stuff who probally sell it at markets. Ours is coming up in may.

  2. We've never had regular clean-ups like that in the UK, but councils will take away unwanted big items if you ask them (sometimes for a fee). Maybe the problem is that your councils now have to separate everything out for recycling which makes it more complicated?

  3. $225 per year for a once a quarter "bulk" trash removal in Detroit. These scheduled days brings out the picker, scrappers and my wife looking for more free stuff.

  4. In the U.S. we've never had clean ups like that but what a great idea. The best we can do is put these things to the curb a couple of days prior to the weekly pick-up and usually, someone will grab them and load them in their car/truck. I put an old bicycle out yesterday and last night heard a car slow......pause.....clunk clunk....and drive off. I'm glad - I like the thought of someone else getting use out of something I no longer will.

  5. Believe it or not Just 6kms away from Kylie's own home we still have clean-up days 4 times every year. Augmenting that once a month you can take your garden waste ie prunings,cuttings, even lawn grass from mowing to one of 3 locations in the ciy's area in a roster type fashion. That's one location each month and the 2nd and 3rd in their turn. Then there is a mulching service where your garden stuff is "chopped up" and returned to the ratepayer in white bags for mulching one's garden. Major appliances and other "hardware" is taken away for modest fees. We have the weekly rubbish collection and this can occur sometimes on Christmas day. Fortnightly recycling collection occurs. All this for paying our normal rates. We consider ourselves fortunate indeed. Wose council can beat the above?

  6. Jo,
    i used to put stuff aside and then forget it, too!

    recycling might be part of the problem, residents were asked to do some basic sorting but there would be much more to do.

    Walking man,
    rates here are dependent on land value but cover all garbage services, roads, parks and all the other local government services at about the $1200pa mark.

    I would put things on the kerb like that if i thought it would work but theres no passing traffic in this street and we could get slapped with a fine for dumping, theres a crackdown on that.
    i'm glad someone got your bike!

    but our council, in infinite wisdom and generosity, refunded us $50 because of their savings on waste contracts, you didnt get that, did ya??

  7. My apt complex has a nice big space labeled "Trash Room" and if it fits, you can put it in there.

    I wonder where it all goes?

    And I'm in mourning that you are gone from FB. But you know what? Maybe it will focus my energies a bit more. What I mean is - What do you WANT to see? And where do you WANT to go? Must. Plan.

  8. yeah, we should have an investigative project to find out where the trash goes.
    what do i want to do?
    you been reading baino, right? the whole idea of experiences suits me. all i want is to go to a diner and meet my friends. the idea of rushing all over the place is kind of tiring and ...yeah, now i sound disinterested...i'll be back to fb and we'll talk. has zack been in touch?


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