Here in Adelaide, many of our councils run a hard waste collection a few weeks a year. If you need some furniture or homeware, like I did when I moved in here, you might find it useful to learn the etiquette of recycling from the kerb.
- Firstly, find out when the collections are on. Most councils list on their website or have pamphlets printed each year that show how the collections will be run. Usually the collections are staggered, a certain area will have a collection on Monday, the neighbouring area Tuesday, and so forth. Find out where and when these collections are and put them in your diary. Prioritise upmarket suburbs because they tend to upgrade and so give away nicer items. Most councils allow householders to put things out for a collection a day or even a week early so don’t wait until collection day!
- Arrange some transport if you can. I am very fortunate in that I have access to a van, but other people use cars, trolleys, bike trailers, wheelbarrows… If you really need a new wardrobe you will want larger transport, if you’re hoping to find some craft supplies not so much.
- Find a friend to go with you if possible, especially if you’re going out after dark. Take a torch and some gardening gloves too. A thermos of hot drink is especially nice in the cold weather!
- Think tetris. Harness your ability to pack lots of things in together. Take along some old blankets to wedge between or around fragile items, or bags to wrap smaller items.
- If it’s been put out on the kerb during hard waste collection, feel free to take it home. Politeness dictates that if the home owner is around you double check with them that the items are rubbish. Be careful not to confuse someone moving house with a hard waste collection.
- If you’re feeling keen, check in boxes, wardrobes, and drawers. One time I found a whole decent set of saucepans in the big box that the upgraded set must have come in.
- Be careful of surprises. Some items have been left in sheds or on porches. There may be spiders and other bugs, there may be sharps under cushion seats etc. Always check items thoroughly and carefully! Give everything a really good clean and/or sterilizing (boiling water plus sunlight is easy) before using it.
- Items can be broken down into components. Old ugly dressers are often snapped up by crafts people who want them for their gorgeous walnut wood.
- You can use items for temporary purposes. I once helped a woman pack 18 chairs into her car because she had a party that weekend.
- Don’t feel like you’re stuck with the items. You might be desperately broke and have no armchairs. There are always armchairs out in the hard waste! Take home a couple that are solid, even if they are ugly. In a couple of months when you’ve more money, then you can look at something you like. The next step up from the hard waste is often buying on eBay, from second hand shops, garage sales etc. Often you will get a much stronger, hardier item second hand than buying from the cheapest range of new gear.
- Some things are almost never in the hard waste. If you want a bookshelf, you’ll probably have to buy it. Apparently no one ever throws them out! Don’t be discouraged if there are days you don’t find much. It’s a bit like fishing.
Things I’ve collected from the hard rubbish; 2 two-seater lounges, rugs, carpets, books, magazines, a box of bottles of white wine, a hand mower, a wardrobe, armchairs, crockery, saucepans, paintings, canvas, old mirrors, dressers, an aquarium, a terrarium, a vivarium, bird cages, outdoor furniture, garden tools, whitegoods, old tv’s, empty garden pots and saucers, useful boxes and storage, candles and so on.