A large chunk of the weekend was spent clearing out our garage. We’ve not done if for a couple of years and by god it needed it, full of crap it was. Pots of paint with only an inch left in them, some broken garden electrical equipment, and old tumble dryer, random bits of wood, and some garden rubbish and rubble all bagged up and left over the winter.

Three trips later and I can finally walk from one end of the garage to the other without tripping over anything, quite a danger when said garage is home to various sharp and pointy garden tools. It’s the kind of job that is a real chore, especially on the first full weekend I’ve had off for a month, but now that it’s done I do have a small sense of achievement.

One thing is evident though, we do not recycle enough.

Our local council run dump is an organised affair with several different places to put all the different kinds of ‘rubbish’ which a dump receives. Glass here, wood there, plastics over there, electric items in that skip, white goods in that one, fridges on the left, and grass cuttings and other green waste in that big area at the back.

I can remember a time when a visit to the local dump was occasionally an opportunity to find something for free. The headboard on my childhood bed came from the local dump, and was in perfect condition. Alas this doesn’t seem to be the case anymore.

For example, we found a small box of leftover tiles from when we got the kitchen done. We kept 5 or 6 for ourselves, in case of breakages, and put the rest in the car to take to the dump. My thinking was I could leave them at the side and maybe someone else could find a use for 20 or so tiles that were left. Alas this was not to be the case as, upon arrival, the ‘helpful’ council worker told me I couldn’t just leave them lying, into the skip they must go!

Pardon the pun, but what a waste.

Of course it’s really down to me whether or not I try and recycle that kind of thing. Perhaps freecycle could’ve helped? Or a form of car boot sale or… well this is my point. How else would I get rid of such things? Put an advert in the local paper?

No, far better to throw it away, make it someone elses problem. Right?

I’m quite ashamed, to be honest. Whilst a lot of what we threw out was rubbish, there were a few things that could possibly have been reused. I wonder how I get to the point where, instead of only pausing before hurling that old table over the barrier into the wood-only skip below, I actually stop and reconsider.

Given the evidence at the dump, it’s safe to say that I’m not alone. That whilst a lot of what I saw there was broken, unusable trash, there were items that could be reused by others. Sometimes I feel bad for our planet, that we abuse it so much.

But apparently, I don’t feel sorry enough.


  1. Clair said:

    It’s amazing what people will take off your hands if you post it on freecycle. A colleague of mine advertised 4 tiles the other day, and someone picked them up.

    Also, an increasing number of dumps have a recycling area attached to them, for furniture and stuff that is too good to throw away.

    July 6, 2009
  2. Gordon said:

    Clair – I’ve used Freecycle in the past (both getting and giving) but had too many timewasters so stopped.

    And it sounds like a letter to our council might be in order, suggest one of them there “recycling” areas (I’d use the word re-using as the entire place is, sorta, the recycling bit…

    July 6, 2009
  3. Ian's Mum said:

    Ian’s Grandpa used to take everything as ‘it would come in handy some day’ miss him for lots more that though!

    July 6, 2009
  4. Kat said:

    I cleared my house out last week and made about £50 in a car boot sale yesterday, but it was admittedly quite a lot of work during precious weekend time.
    Other thing to note as a benefit of car boots/flea markets is that there are still a lot of people about who need them: I was very happy to sell my mum’s old slippers to a pensioner for 20p (actually I was shocked that anyone would want them, and felt like giving her them), and a large proportion of my customers were low-paid immigrants who had no problem haggling me down as I just wanted to get rid of what was my junk.

    July 6, 2009

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