Mar(k): Travel, Hiking, and "Doing Good"

musings on our life of travel and volunteering

On the verge of…. gross excess??!

with 12 comments

When Alice in Wonderland slipped through the rabbit hole, she found herself in a place she could not believe was real.   I think that many refugees, recent immigrants from developing countries, and visitors to Australia may sometimes have that same experience…..  when they see what is being thrown out during “verge collection”.

people are so helpful, they even put notes like this on perfectly good items!

This concept is not a new one….   about twice a year the local council organises a special pick up of rubbish that enables people to have a big clean out of their sheds, garages, and gardens!  This makes sense and as the collection date looms, you start to see more and more “stuff” on the verge.

But really, when you think about all the great stuff that will ultimately end up going to landfill, the mind boggles.  What must a new immigrant or refugee think, when they see people throwing out perfectly good, workable items?  Fridges, stoves, sinks, washing machines, dryers, sofas, tables, chairs, outdoor furniture, children’s toy’s, kitchenware, gardening tools, cleaning materials, the list just goes on and on!  All of the photos you see here are pictures that I took within 300 metres of our home!  

But what is great to see is that people do have a “sticky beak” (as we say here), and may pick up some great finds on the verge during this time.  Mark will hopefully be working with refugees very soon, and I know one of the things he is keen to do is to let these people know about verge collection times!   Lots of people could literally fill a house with much needed items without it costing a cent!  And that verges on a really great idea, I reckon…..

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Written by Mar(k)

April 5, 2011 at 8:41 pm

12 Responses

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  1. All that is left following the verge collections goes into landfill. In two years time, Perth will no longer have room for landfill so where is this ‘rubbish’ going to go then? I spoke with a gentleman from Zambia recently as he had placed bags and bags of clothing on to the verge. I don’t think he realised, and I’m sure a lot of other people don’t either, that items placed on the verge go to landfill and don’t get sorted or recycled. After I spoke with him he was going to collect the clothing up and take it to a bin near his home. I collect shoes etc and place them in the Eco-kid bins for people in Africa and part of the proceeds go to the Asthma Foundation.

    Claire Andrews

    April 5, 2011 at 9:44 pm

    • Great initiative, Claire! Indeed, whilst the verge collections are great for various reasons, it is also a challenge to manage what we put to landfill. One other way I have found around the issue is to post things “for free” on Gumtree. That way I know that they are being taken by people who really are interested in the item(s) and are going to be reused. We all have to do our bit!

      Mar(k)

      April 5, 2011 at 9:47 pm

  2. Great post Mar(k)…we have a similar thing here in Sydney, but in recent years its been noticeable how quickly decent stuff left on the “verge” gets picked up by semi professional “collectors”! I asked one such collector, who was going through some stuff we had left what he was looking for… “Oh anything I can put up on ebay!” was his response. I guess if you are too lazy to put it up on ebay yourself, then someone else will show initiative. That said, perhaps Councils who organize these collections should seek out NGOs who could distribute particular categories of items, and have a collection just for those things, and pass them on to the NGO..just a thought..

    Ron Ogden

    April 6, 2011 at 8:46 am

    • it is a great idea, Ron. So many NGOs could use this stuff very effectively…. in fact, you have inspired me to look into this further! I’ll let you know what i find…. but in the meantime, I commend those who are professional collectors / scavengers! good on them for doing this….. certainly beats landfill! And if they end up with a few dollars in their pocket, so much the better!

      Mar(k)

      April 6, 2011 at 10:51 am

  3. Hi Guys,

    Here’s a link to the City of Stirling Maps where you can go online and check where and when the verge collections will be in the City of Stirling.

    karena

    April 6, 2011 at 1:07 pm

    • They all have that option Karena as that’s how the scrap metal merchants find out where to go to collect washing machines, fridges etc.

      Claire

      April 6, 2011 at 1:27 pm

    • thanks for that Karena! unfortunately the link doesn’t look like it has come through, but we can check online! much appreciated! xx

      Mar(k)

      April 6, 2011 at 3:15 pm

  4. I can’t understand why the Men’s Sheds (there’s enough of them in the Western Suburbs now) can’t offer to have items dropped off for repair and then donate them to charities. For goodness sake they get grants from Lotteries to build their sheds so why can’t they give something back?

    Claire

    April 6, 2011 at 1:30 pm

  5. oops… sent the reply without the link! here it is…

    http://maps.stirling.wa.gov.au/

    karena

    April 10, 2011 at 10:16 am

  6. if you’re still after a source of verge collection information for refugees, I have a Google Maps layer that covers a fair bit of perth with the next collection date. A quick explanation of it is here and the map itself can be found here.

    If you have any suggestions, let me know and I’ll try to improve things.

    Matt

    September 13, 2011 at 9:40 am

    • thanks for that, Matt! Indeed, I have forwarded your links onto some contacts in relevant organisations in Perth. So that is fantastic! really appreciate you taking the time to provide this information – we all benefit! Kind regards, Mar(k)

      Mar(k)

      September 13, 2011 at 5:16 pm

  7. […] In a post a while ago, we wrote about the fact that many wonderful items are discarded by the roadside.   Many items are still functioning, and still more may be upcycled, or recycled, to continue their usefulness in a different guise!   This is certainly what happened to a fridge that we “rescued” from the last verge collection.  We were first given the idea of using old fridges as raised garden beds at a Sustainable Living initiative that we attended at a wonderful place called Earthwise.  In addition to learning about such things as composting (our compost is now doing great!), worm farms and propagation (ie: growing plants from cuttings, etc…), we also talked about establishing raised garden beds.  So knowing that we could use an old fridge for this purpose, we kept our eyes peeled for a suitable candidate. […]


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