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Useful And Fantastic: Street Scavenging

Val Yule voices a vigorous plea for the re-using and repairing of household goods rather than treating them as throwaway landfill rubbish.

Today was our hard rubbish collection. I watched as the contractor's men picked up perfectly good furniture and other goods, thrown out only because the owners no longer wanted them. The furniture was chucked into the same truck as masses of other rubbish.

Why is it an offence to scavange this furniture? The contractor who does the collecting will get nothing for it. Why so much waste when there are so many people unable to afford chairs, tables, cupboards, beds and other household goods? Why not allow charity workers to go along and collect things that can be re-conditioned and re-used?

Perhaps there should be two hard rubbish days, one for possible reusable items and the other for genuine waste.

When I look around my home I see articles which I have collected from the kerbside - from carpets to galvanised buckets. Clearly I should be in jail!

Then I note what other illegal scavengers have taken from my own rubbish - from broken aerials to venentian blinds. What enterprise. Our laws are thwarting future captains of tradee.

'Wilful waste makes woeful want.' Our proverbs seem to have gone out with the rubbish too.

If I need an item to make or mend something for my home or garden, an old carpet or a bit of furniture, friends and relatives find it for me on their hard rubbish kerbsides. Meanwhile, Cleanaway throws things away. Why smash up good mirrors and woodwork, rugs and masonite, chicken wire and pot-plants, tipping them into landfill and not allowing others chance to salvage and re-use them?

My father’s favourite shopping was to go around junk-shops and junk-yards. They were like magnets. He would come home with some doodiddle or gromlicky that was just what he needed for his model railway or to fix a ceiling. Junk-shops and the rag-and-bone men feature in my childhood memories. Some, like Ma Dalley, made fortunes, and many people improved their homes and gardens with what they made from other people’s junk.


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