When I was a kid my dad used to take great pleasure in wrapping two bottles of Lion Brown beer in Christmas wrapping paper and sitting the result atop our galvanized steel rubbish bin for the hard working rubbish men,(whom I wasn’t allowed to talk too, because they were the rubbish men,) which made me rather curious about why they got beer, yet couldn’t benefit from the privilege of a hello from myself.
Anything that didn’t fit in our twenty gallon galvanized drum set (when it was empty, it made a great drum upside down…) was taken to the (smelly) Johnsonville rubbish tip by my dad and I on the weekend.
These days, there are no athletic rubbish men running along the street waking us at dawn to the sound of the clanging bin boot scoot. Just the big Truck with the Wheelie bin grab ‘n hoist that growls along the street at 5:00 am.
Leaving two bottles of Lion Brown in a Christmas wrapping on top of the wheelie bin would result in a mess to clean up the next morning.
One thing I have learnt over the last fifty years, rubbish men no longer run along the footpaths, in fact they wont even get out of their truck if the bin falls over…
There’s no smelly rubbish tip either. There are now only “recycling centres” and… bi-annual rubbish collections.
These are instigated by the local council [city hall] by sending us a letter detailing the dates that they will collect rubbish placed on the median strip in our area.
Householders then clean-up their yards, sheds and spare rooms and place the haul at the edge of the street.
The affluence of the entire nation can be measured by analyzing the replacement value of the quality of the rubbish being tossed.
Walking the dog each afternoon [3-6 kilometres through the neighbouring suburban region], has allowed me twice a year to meander through the debris of other peoples domestic lives and resulted in the following observations.
Five years ago rusty garden implements, old chipboard cabinets falling to pieces, refrigerators, old stoves, aging push button dishwashers with a liberal sprinkling of broken and outworn children’s toys littered the kerbs.
The council would then arrive promptly as advertised with a large tipper with some likely lads running along the side of the lorry and throwing rubbish into it.
At least that rubbish that didn’t contain any metal, copper or brass as that had been picked up already by the scavenging obviously commercial Steptoe and son [Scrap merchant] trucks circling the block for the entire week of rubbish pickup.
Four years ago, as the price of 42 inch LCD screens crashed through the $1,000 barrier, televisions started piling up. The council sent a memo to all householders for the next pick-up that ordered that all mains leads had to be cut off electrical items before anything was dumped.
The Steptoe and son Trucks had been added to by utes [truck if you’re American] with mesh cages.
Three years ago the council mechanized and used a grab, which unfortunately wasn’t all that popular with the citizenry as it took most of the turf with it and managed to smash a lot of the glass in the televisions and litter the nature strip with silicon fragments that glitter even today..
The trucks and utes now had competition from persons towing trailers behind four wheel drives..
This year I noticed three items worthy of note.
- The Television screens and old CRT computer screens had all their insides removed by the householder prior to dumping. (Presumably not for canibalisation by little Johnny for nine life electrical experiments on the family cat with the high voltage transformer.)
- I noticed cars were stopping with elderly people getting out and examining each pile (rather than a cursory glance slow drive past).
- Neighbours who as late as last year would never have been seen dead poking trough a trash pile, were poking through our trash pile in broad daylight.
….AND, the council guys were two weeks late in their pickup (almost like they already knew that there would be nothing left of any value except for the garden cuttings).
The moral to the story is that apart from mining, there is another industry in Australia that is growing obviously growing rapidly.
The home based recycling industry is forging ahead in leaps and bounds, and it would appear that is has many thousands of Australians as stakeholders.
As a country we are being becoming less wasteful. The only question we should be asking, is this evolution from choice or necessity.
P.S. For those that were wondering, my dad made similar Christmas relief packages for both the postie and the milkman in addition to the rubbish chappies.
- From Sharing and Caring to Piracy in less than thirty years
- The Dollar, the Oil and Szun Tzu. Part III The End of the World, Again ?
- Executive Overview of our Findings in Relation to The Tera Report
- PUBLIC NOTICE To the Operators and owners of AS8912 NETBENEFIT Group NBT plc (formerly NetBenefit) London, UK
- The Tera Report Response 7 Vivendi as a Case Study of Music Piracy