Throughout Australia many councils from time to time coordinate hard rubbish collections for local residents in various council divisions. For anyone who doesn't know what hard rubbish collection is, it's an opportunity for residents to have larger household items like large appliances and white goods, furniture, garden waste, building supplies and more to be collected by council from the kerbside. As long it's not normal household refuse (food scraps etc) most household and garden items with a few exclusions can be collected during a determined collection period.
My local division has recently had a hard rubbish collection and driving around the streets there have been all manner of items lined up on kerbsides awaiting collection. Those with eagle eyes have seen opportunities to reuse, recycle or upcycle further and it's been a common sight to see people going through others hard rubbish and taking things they see use or need for.
Now for me I have no issue whatsoever with people going through hard rubbish on the kerbside and taking things that have a use for. I believe we live in a time where recycling and upcycling is essential. However there are others that hold different views about hard rubbish collection.
The Gold Coast Bulletin (our cities major newspaper) has come out with an article that states that the behaviour of going through hard rubbish at collection times is known as legal looting. Furthermore the article states that outside the hard rubbish collection period the act of rummaging through kerbside hard rubbish is actually illegal and a fineable offence.
Here is the link to the full article and the above image is also credited to the Gold Coast Bulletin: Reckon you can loot from Gold Coast hard rubbish collections? Some Residents are kicking up a stink.
Now whilst it's unlikely any council would send out law enforcement outside collection times to fine those engaging in the act or rummaging or picking, I find it outreageous that it's a treat that it could happen. In Australia by large most people would understand that it is illegal to go through someones household rubbish bins (household waste, food scraps etc) as well as mail box and letters etc. Surely we need to look at hard rubbish differently?
But what does this mean for the well meaning and good intentioned person who wants to pop something out of the kerbside to give someone the chance of picking up are treasure that will be useful for free. Does that mean that the property owner is also opening themselves up to be fined for littering or other offences?
I realise there are many other factors to consider with these laws like public health and safety, and those who take advantage and dump excess amounts of hard rubbish beyond the collection guidelines. But don't we live in a time where we need to look at encouraging more of this freecycling behaviour?
I'm finding this a really interesting topic at the moment, one I will be looking into further, but in meantime I want to hear from others. In the comments below please tell me about your experiences with hard rubbish collection! Have you done a clean out and had people go through your unwanted things? Have you done some kerbside rummaging yourself? Does hard rubbish collection bother you? Share your experiences and opinions, I really want to look at this further!