Last week my 20+ year old microwave gave up the ghost - the door catch broke. Not having a car (don’t need one in London) I arranged with a friend to come and drive me to the local recycling depot. In preparation I put it out on the street outside my front door so my pal wouldn’t have to hang around while I carried it down the stairs. An hour later when he arrived the defunct oven was gone! Hooray!
A similar thing happened to us when we replaced our last couch and loveseat. They had definitely seen better days after a decade with 5 dogs. The day our new furniture was delivered we called our trash hauler and arranged for a special pick-up, and on Trash Day we set the sofas (minus a couple of cushions we recycled into dog beds) out on the shoulder of our country road next to the driveway. Five minutes later, a pickup truck with several young men inside pulled over and loaded everything into the bed of the truck and drove away.
I always wondered what they thought when they discovered that they were missing a few pieces.
They probably didn’t care. When moving from Ann Arbor, I offered my downstairs neighbors – a trio of happy-go-lucky grad students I called “The Bacon Boys” because they made bacon often – my old sofa. the cat had tagged it more than once in the back corner (ie not a sitting surface) and despite surface cleaning and enzyme treatments, it smelled in an enclosed room, which I was honest about. They took it cheerfully, as a “porch couch” ie, it sits on the porch in the rain and snow. When it gets too mildewed you get rid of it or burn it in a sports riot* and get another free porch couch. Porch couch comes pre-trashed for your convenience!
*Sports riot/couch burning option only available in East Lansing
It’s funny you added that little footnote. I remember reading an article a few years back that “porch couches” were no longer legal in Boulder anymore specifically because people were burning them after games.
Ah, dumpster diving. We are debating either trying to sell a 27" CRT TV (2004) for cheap, or just putting it on the street with the remote control and letting someone take it. It would be nice to make a bit of money, but the latter option gets it out of the living room much faster.
It’s a good TV…it just doesn’t quite compare to a 46" Samsung HDTV, and we don’t have a second room in the house to put a TV into.
When my washing machine blew up (it didn’t really blow up, it just sounded like it was going to), my friends put it by the road (no curbs here) with a sign saying that it didn’t work and wasn’t worth fixing. It was gone before I was able to call the trash people to arrange for pick-up.
Grumbles loudly, it was a 4 year old front loader. A Maytag, and their repair guy was the one who told me to get rid of it and buy a different brand.
Shortly after I moved into my “new” house, Hallboy and I pulled some old, rusty florescent lighting out of the garage. Thank god we were both up to date on our tetnus shots, as these lights were calling out our names. We put them on the curb and within the hour, they were gone.
We did likewise with an old dresser with a drawer missing (not broken–GONE). Same thing.
There’s always parts to recycle, sometimes in the case of washers and dryers there’s value in taking broken ones in for metal. My SO and I paid many bills by picking up metal and cashing it in. All legal of course.
Thank you for doing that. I was very upset about the waste, people like you make the world better.
I just thought that someone had seen a fairly new brand-name washing machine sitting by the road and thought that he or she could fix it. I guess that I thought that the not fixed washer would end up in a landfill or dumped somewhere.
A few years ago, I put a burnt-out lamp at the curb, hoping someone would take it away (which someone eventually did). A bag lady knocked at my door asking if she could have the trash at the curb, so I gave her the keys and ownership to my Fleetwood Brougham d’Elegance (a.k.a. The Pimpmobile).
Decades ago, my aunt bought one of the first electric trash compactors. The family was excited to compact their first load of trash – it came out as a cube, neatly wrapped in dark plastic stamped with the General Electric logo. They set it out at the curb for the trash truck.
A short time later, they observed a late-model expensive car pull up, and a well-dressed man stepped out, looked around, and heaved the cube into the back of his car and sped off.
The scene when the package was ultimately opened must be left to one’s imagination, although we have amused ourselves at many family gatherings dwelling on the possibilities. My hope is that he presented it to his wife without having checked it first.
When I replaced my old gas stove with a new one, I had to wait for the gas guy to unhook the old one and install the new one, so I couldn’t take advantage of the free disposal by the guys who delivered the new one.
No worries, I just told my scrap metal collecting neighbour that if he wanted the old stove for the scrap, he could have it. It was gone from the front of my house that day.
When I lived in my condo in FL if you wanted an item to disappear you’d just put it next to the dumpster in the dumpster enclosure. I got rid of a whole set of dining room chairs that way.
Here in NY the trash men pick up anything as long as it’s trash day. When we put items out some or all of them always get taken. Most recently an old Dell laptop with a bad motherboard, no hard drive and no power cable. I suppose it was still good for parts.
My daughter, when volunteering for City Year was able to furnish an entire apartment without buying anything. Between Freecycle and things left on the side of the road, they had everything they needed (they being 6 volunteers living in a 3 bedroom apartment).
Back in the late seventies I was living in Amsterdam and I seem to recall there was a specified day each month when you could put any unwanted items on the pavement and anyone was free to help themselves. After a couple of days the council would collect anything that was left and dispose of it.
Struck me as being a perfect way to recycle bulky stuff and a few people I know furnished their apartments this way.
Someone dumped an old couch in the hallway of my GF’s apartment building. It was used, but still in really good shape. Several neighbors wanted it, and there was a bit of discussion about who should get it. They finally worked it out, and the “loser” helped the “winner” move it into their apartment.
They had the couch about halfway in the door when a new neighbor, in the process of moving in, wondered why people were stealing her couch.